Joe Hildebrand Blasted Over Family Violence Comments

Studio 10 host and journalist Joe Hildebrand has been blasted by Rosie Batty, who tragically lost her son Luke Batty at the hands of her violent ex-husband in February, after Hildebrand suggested that women who do not escape abusive relationships do not have any excuse for not reporting any abuse suffered by children at the hands of violent partners. The comments were made during a discussion over proposed new laws in Victoria that victim support groups fear may ultimately lead to Mothers of abused children, too fearful to speak up, being sent to jail for failing to report abusive partners to police.

The laws proposed by the Napthine government have been met with opposition from victim support groups, who fear situations could potentially arise where the onus may be on the accused mother to prove that their fears were genuine, and that some juries may not accept this. The sentences for non-reporting potentially carry a maximum three-year jail period.
Speaking on Studio 10 this morning, Hildebrand stated “Frankly to say that you’re going to not report a case of child abuse or child sex abuse by your partner because you are scared for your own safety, I’m sorry it’s not an excuse.” A statement that Batty took umbrage with, replying “If you minimise how it feels to feel unsafe, and when we’re talking about unsafe, we’re talking about the risks to our lives. We’re talking about when women finally decide to leave their partners they are at the most risk. Joe needs to look at his views as a man and he needs to step up and get informed. Because when I hear comments like that I am so saddened that the focus is still on the woman. Where the hell is the perpetrator? Why isn’t he being jailed for three years?
Throughout Batty’s response, Hildebrand remained silent, and he has since clarified and apologised for his original comments.

As unfortunate as comments such as Hildebrand’s are, sometimes they are necessary in order to stir up attention towards incredibly important topics such as this one. Discussion is vital, and any proposed legislation such of the kind proposed in Victoria needs consultation and clarification with all groups affected.

For help regarding family violence in Victoria, please do not hesitate to visit Domestic Violence Victoria.

In emergency situations, call police, or the women’s domestic violence crisis services on 1800 015 188.