FixedIt: a bit of the story is not the story

Last night on Sky News, Paul Murray rehashed pieces of a Sydney Morning Herald article about domestic violence reported to NSW Police since the lockdown began.

What SMH did report (and Paul Murray did not) was the context of the police data. SMH made it  clear the data was only reports to police, not actual incidents, and provided quotes from experts and the report itself. For example:

“It is possible the figures are stable because isolation strategies have affected the willingness or ability of people experiencing domestic violence to seek assistance from police,” the report warns.

SMH also pointed out the data only covered the first two weeks of isolation, that police have increased AVO compliance checks, and several other factors that impact how the data should be interpreted.

No one really knows what violent men are doing to their partners and children during lockdown. We won’t know the full picture for a long time, but we certainly can’t infer anything reliable from two weeks of reports to police. So why would someone even try?

Paul Murray is one of News Corps’ cohort of conservative ideologues scattered across Sky After Dark, a pallid replica of the Fox News malevolent buffoonery that sees sexism, racism and climate change denial as a business model. Perhaps this might be an explanation?

The SMH article was informed and contextual. It compared data from March 2019 to March 2020 and correctly showed that there was little change in DV reports to police. 

Experts and frontline workers have expressed concerns about the risk isolation poses to women and children living with abusive men. Ethical journalists have reported on crisis  workers who can’t contact women they know are at risk, and their fears about support services being overwhelmed when lockdown eases. 

The media can (and does) report responsibly on men’s violence against women. Except for the times it doesn’t. These two pieces show what it looks like from both sides. 

FixedIt is an ongoing project to push back against the media’s constant erasure of violent men and blaming of innocent victims. If you would like to help fund it – even $5 a month makes a big difference – please consider becoming a Patron

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