A LINK between child abuse and adult assault victims could be the key to reducing alarming rates of domestic violence on the Border, Melbourne psychologist Ursula Benstead has said.
Police in Albury attend up to 100 cases of domestic violence a month, call-outs that take up a lot of the city’s police resources.
Ms Benstead, who spoke at Albury’s White Ribbon Day yesterday, said many of the city’s victims of domestic violence would have been victims before, perhaps much earlier in their lives.
She said of the one in three women who were assaulted during childhood, 72 per cent would be the victim of some sort of abuse when an adult — compared with 43 per cent of those who were not abused as children.
Ms Benstead has written a book about her theory called The Shark Cage in which she says early abuse causes people to grow up without a fully developed understanding of their human rights, which may include the right to say no, to make your own decisions and to be free of sexual violence.
Ms Benstead said it was important to educate children about their rights to prevent abuse and help them not be perpetrators as adults.
“If a boy is told to go kiss his grandpa, even though he says it makes him feel uncomfortable, how is he going to distinguish between that and when Uncle Rob says you have to let me do this to you?,” Ms Benstead asked.
She spoke at Mirambeena Community Centre at the White Ribbon Day event organised by the Albury Family Violence Centre, Betty’s Place Women’s Refuge and NSW Police.
The lunch was attended by many Albury police.
Inspector Tony Moodie said domestic violence remained one of the city’s biggest areas of crime.