13 April 2017

It’s not OK to hit women under any circumstances

I am extremely concerned about claims by a Muslim women’s group – the Women of Hizb ut–Tahrir Australia – that it is acceptable for Muslim men to hit their wives.

As reported in the Australian newspaper today, several women from this group appear in a Facebook video describing the circumstances in which Muslim men may hit their wives.

One woman panellist, speaking at a meeting of this group, describes that hitting can be done in a “managed way” with a short stick, a twisted scarf or a scrap of fabric.  In response to the suggestion that a Muslim husband is permitted to discipline his wife, another woman panellist says: “Striking should be done in such a way as not to cause harm or pain.  It’s a symbolic act.”

These sorts of practices as described in the video are not only repugnant but criminal.

As chair of a federal parliamentary inquiry into family violence law reform, I wish to make it clear that any form of violence perpetrated against a spouse is strictly against the law in Australia.

Many women, in particular, from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds suffer family violence at the hands of their husband.

One in six Australian women has experienced violence from a current or former partner. More than one woman on average dies in a family violence incident in Australia every week.

To obtain more information about the inquiry, including the terms of reference, and to find out how to participate, please visit the inquiry website: www.aph.gov.au/FVLawReform

For anyone concerned about his or her safety or experiencing distress, the following support services are available:

  • 1800RESPECT National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service: 1800 737 732
  • Men’s Referral Service: 1300 766 491
  • Lifeline: 131 114
  • Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

13 April 2017