Shocking figures have revealed that the number of women who have been charged with domestic violence-related assault has soared by 159 per cent over the past eight years.
The figures, from the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics, show 2336 women faced court on charges of domestic violence in 2007, mainly for bashing their husbands, compared with just 818 in 1999.
Men’s groups said yesterday they were happy that police were finally taking men seriously but it remained tough for husbands to admit they had been attacked by their wives.
Research shows women tend to use guns, knives, boiling liquids and irons to attack their partners.
The increase in violence, which is often fuelled by alcohol, has sparked calls for refuges for men.
“Australia is probably worse than anywhere else in the world for this problem,” Michael Woods, of the Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre at the University of Western Sydney, said.
“We’re really behind the eight ball in trying to stop domestic violence against men because we don’t understand it.”
Mr Woods said Britain and Holland had shelters for men but there was nothing similar in Australia.
The figures show that although the number of women prosecuted for general assault remained stable between 1999 and 2007, there was an increase of 11 per cent a year in the number of women prosecuted for domestic violence.
During the same period, domestic violence charges against men rose by 2.3 per cent a year.
Reg Price, who runs the Men’s Rights Agency, said domestic violence against men occurred in families of all incomes and status, as did violence against women.
Mr Price said police were beginning to recognise it was a reality and had stopped telling men they were “big boys” and to go away.
He said men had told him they were afraid to retaliate for fear of having an apprehended violence order imposed on them and being unable to see their children.
Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch said there was no definitive explanation for the increasing number of women being prosecuted for domestic violence offences