Staring, Withdrawing Affection, is Domestic Violence, according to new Guidelines

Malcolm TurnbullStaring, withdrawing affection or threatening a divorce are now defined­ as domestic violence in the first national guidelines for judges and magistrates.

It gives examples of emotional and psychological abuse as “angry verbal outbursts, staring, silence, ignoring and withdrawal of affection’’.

The official judicial guide also cites “social abuse’’ such as criticising the way a partner takes care of the house or becoming upset when chores are not finished.

But Law Council of Australia domestic and family violence taskforce chair Dr Jacoba Brasch QC yesterday said a “one-off’’ criticism of housework should not constitute family violence. “Domestic violence or abuse involves violence and threatening behaviour that coerces, controls or causes fear,” she said.

The online guide urges judges to look beyond physical violence­ when deciding whether to grant a domestic­ violence order, saying: “A perpetrator may intend to intimidate­ and induce fear … through physical violence or harm yet cause minor or no visible signs of injury.’

The judicial guide criticises judges and magistrates who focus only on “recent physical violence” instead of a “complex pattern of violent­ or abusive behaviours’’. It also says children “do not need to see or hear violence to be exposed to it’’.

The state government changed domestic violence laws in June so victims no longer have to prove they have a fear for their physical safety for a restraining order.

The government was yesterday criticised by various groups who have called the guidelines an invitation to make define every minor dispute within a relationship as domestic violence.

Ash Patil, President of Fathers4Equality argued that there is:

“no longer a distinction between a minor disagreement between a couple, for example over who washes the dishes, and an allegation that fits within the definition of Domestic Violence.”

Patil continued that the unintended consequences of these guidelines is to create a hostile domestic environment where males (primarily) are living in constant fear of being accused of being an abuser over the most minute and inconsequential incident.

“These guidelines will be an open invitation for people to threaten to make allegations of domestic violence against others, creating a new group of victims in Australia,” Patil laments.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has defended the new domestic violence guidelines for judges.

The prime minister insists the ‘bench’ guidelines don’t change the law.

‘They’re there for guidance and I think it’s important that we don’t take them out of context,’ he told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

The prime Minister did not elaborate whether the laws applied solely for women and children, or whether they could be applied to male victims as well.

Attorney-General George Brandis released the online resource, saying it would promote best practice in domestic violence court cases.

The guidelines define as emotional and psychological abuse verbal attacks, stalking, threatening to divorce or kill the victim and monitoring the victim’s whereabouts.

Mr Turnbull said it was vital to stop men disrespecting women.

‘Domestic violence is a disgrace,’ he said.

‘Violence against women and children is always wrong.’

For example, in one case of abuse against a female, a man insisted she slept outside and asked her children to refer to her by derogatory terms.

‘Generally treating her in a humiliating and abusive manner, including attempting to persuade her to engage in a sexual act with a dog,’ the guideline example states.

There is no single family violence law in Australia and judges can rely on a range of legal responses to deal with domestic violence cases.

The guidelines are designed to provide a central source for judges dealing with such cases.



Victims say abusers have:

* Put down my appearance

* Became upset if chores not done

* Treated me like a personal servant

* Become jealous of my friends and other men

* Tried to convince me I was crazy


Emotional or psychological abuse may also involve:

* Threatening to divorce or abandon the victim if the victim fails to comply with demands

* Threatening to commit suicide if victim leaves

* Restricting the victim’s contact with family and friends

* Restricting access to a car or finances

* Strategic intimidatory behaviour … including angry verbal outbursts, staring, silence, ignoring and withdrawal of affection

Link to the National Domestic and Family Violence Bench Book

Sisters abused by Stepfather awarded $1.5m

crime-sceneTwo sisters who sued the state of New South Wales for failing to protect them from their abusive stepfather have been awarded almost $1.5 million in damages after an eight-year battle for compensation.

The women, known as TB and DC, were repeatedly raped and indecently assaulted by their stepfather when they were children in the 1970s and 1980s.

The payout marks the end of a long legal battle for the sisters, which began in 2008 when they sued the state and their former community services case worker for negligence in the NSW Supreme Court.

They claimed that despite knowing about the abuse and documenting their complaints, both the Department of Community Services (DOCS) and the officer did not report it to the police. They alleged that had the abuse been reported, they would have been protected from further abuse.

The former case worker, Carolyn Quinn, is now a high-profile child protection consultant and a former member of the NSW Carers Advisory Council.

Last year, the sisters lost their initial claim, with Justice D ruling that while the department had failed in its duty of care to report the abuse, he did not accept that the abuse continued after DOCS was first notified in 1983.

Justice Campbell ruled Ms Quinn did not owe the girls a duty of care and even if she had, she had fulfilled that duty by reporting the abuse to her superiors.

But on Wednesday, the NSW Court of Appeal overturned the decision and awarded TB $940,000 and DC $540,000. The findings on Ms Quinn were not challenged and she was not part of the appeal.

The court held the “shocking” abuse of the girls did continue after it was reported to DOCS.

The Court of Appeal found “the stepfather, who was clearly a shameful sexual predator, continued to avail himself of the obvious opportunity he had to sexually abuse the appellants during the period after notification to the department”.

gavelThe abuse began when the girls were aged five and eight. The court heard their stepfather raped and indecently assaulted the girls and took sexually explicit photographs of them.

He also beat them with a leather strap, threatened them with a knife and handcuffed them.

In April 1983, TB reported the abuse to DOCS and Ms Quinn interviewed the sisters and prepared a report. She also interviewed the stepfather, who admitted to the abuse.

At the time, he was facing charges of raping another girl and had an extensive history of sexual offences against children. But despite this, the girls were returned to live with their mother and contact with the stepfather continued.

DC and TB said their mother allowed him to visit the family home and keep abusing them.

It was not until 2001, when both women went directly to police, that their stepfather was finally charged. He pleaded guilty to nine counts of physical and sexual assault and was jailed for 10 years.

New euthanasia lobby group launched in Australia

Andrew DentonInfluential Australian journalist Andrew Denton has launched a new campaign for assisted dying in Australia, and called on the Catholic Church to “stay out” of the euthanasia debate.

The broadcaster and media personality told the National Press Club on Wednesday the will is there in Australia for legally assisted voluntary suicide, but powerful people with vested interests are standing in the way.

He went on to name two key politicians who he said were driving forces 20 years ago and remain in play today: Liberal MP Kevin Andrews and Labor MP Tony Burke.

“The joint operation was led on the Liberal side by a young Kevin Andrews, a leading member of the conservative Lyons Forum, dubbed by some ‘The God Squad’, who worked in tandem with rising Labor star Tony Burke,” Denton said.

He said a number of prominent Catholic businessmen also backed the campaign, and that these forces are still in place and are just as determined to thwart any attempt to change laws.

“It’s an issue where denialism is still rampant today — denial of the public will, denial of the evidence.”

On Wednesday night Mr Burke responded, saying it was wrong to make assumptions about his political views based on his religion.

“Pretending my faith determines my political views hits a pretty clear wall when you consider my support for marriage equality,” he said.

“The claim past debates were driven solely by religion doesn’t explain why many atheists and people such as Lindsay Tanner and Barry Jones held the same view as me.”

Denton said polls showed “support for voluntary euthanasia in this country consistently runs at over 70 per cent”.

“It’s not that we lack the wit — we’ve done it before — it was Australia which enacted the world’s first assisted dying law,” he said.

Denton was referring to laws passed in the Northern Territory in the mid-1990s.

“Many of you remember the first man to use it, a 66-year-old Darwin carpenter called Bob Dent, dying from prostate cancer,” he said.

“Both his testicles had been removed, he’d lost 25 kilos, wore a catheter and a leg bag, and as he said himself, he couldn’t get a hug in case his ribs cracked.

“Under that law Bob, and three others, got the release they so desperately wanted.”

What Denton wants in Australia is a carefully written law that is only applicable if a sufferer has an extreme medical condition.

He explained it would have “three bedrock principles”.

  • Firstly, to access voluntary euthanasia a person would need to be a “mentally competent adult — excluding children or those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease”, Denton said.
  • Secondly, the request would be required to be voluntary.
  • And thirdly, the person must suffer from a physical illness, excluding “purely psychiatric suffering”.

Denton also told Lateline he believed voluntary euthanasia laws should go hand-in-hand with increased resources and funding for palliative care.

“Palliative care has an incredibly important role in our society,” he said.

“However it is simply a myth to suggest that palliative care, no matter how many resources it has, can deal with all suffering and distress at the end of life.

“In their own words, Palliative Care Australia say that even with optimal care they cannot deal with all pain and suffering at the end of life.”

Denton has put his career on hold in recent years to research and campaign for assisted suicide to be legalised in Australia.

His push has been driven by a deeply personal experience — the death of his father, Kit Denton, 19 years ago.

“Watching my father Kit die remains the most profoundly shocking experience of my life,” he said.

He explained that his father was 67, clearly dying of heart failure and obviously in great pain, but was “assisted to die in the only way that Australia’s laws then, and now, would allow”.

This was using increasing doses of sedatives to ease the pain.

“When your heart fails, fluid backs up in your lungs and you spend all day, every day, fighting for breath. It’s like waterboarding — trying to suck air through a damp mask, drowning and being revived again.”

QLD to introduce tougher domestic violence laws

domestic violence- shadowQueensland will move to toughen up its domestic violence laws.

The Palaszczuk government will introduce a bill to parliament on Tuesday to set DV protection orders for a longer period of five years.

The minimum protection order of domestic violence is currently for two years. The bill hopes to extend the period to five years and expand arrangement for police protection notices. Queensland will also push for domestic violence orders to be recognised across state borders as part of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s $100 million fight against domestic and family violence.

To identify those who may be at risk, government agencies – such as police and health service providers – will be allowed to share information with specialist domestic and family violence officers across departments.

“If we can share that information in a coordinated, collaborative way, we can identify women who are at risk and potentially save women’s lives,” Shannon Fentiman, minister for Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, said in Brisbane on Monday.

The legislation will also allow police to act immediately if they think an individual, including a minor, is in danger of domestic violence.

“We are no longer requiring police to write down the reasons for the PPN (police protection notices), they just have to understand that domestic violence has been committed, communicate that to the perpetrator, and believe there is a need for immediate protection,” Fentiman added.

Last year, Turnbull, in his first major announcement as prime minister, announced plans to fight domestic violence in Australia with a $100 million package. As part of the program, the federal government planned to hand out mobile phones to women fleeing domestic violence situations to better help them escape from their perpetrators.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has joined her federal counterparts in calling on the prime minister to convene a national summit to address the domestic violence crisis.

The national domestic violence helpline is 1800 737 732 or 1800RESPECT. Readers are advised to call 000 for emergencies.

Edelsten to divorce after Grecko prostitute drama


the edeltens – geoffrey and gabi

ECCENTRIC millionaire businessman Geoffrey Edelsten is divorcing Gabi Grecko, claiming she owes him $65,000.

The 72-year-old will take legal action through lawyers in New York, where the model and former prostitute lives, before he lodges paperwork to officially split in the family court in Melbourne next month.

Mr Edelsten complained to Melbourne East Police in October that the 27-year-old launched a blackmail plot to extort $7000 from him, which he says he paid, when she threatened to go to the media with naked pictures of him — a claim she denies.

‘He didn’t even own anything that cost that much at the point we were at.’

Victoria Police have confirmed that a complaint of blackmail was lodged but it is not being investigated.

Mr Edelsten also told officers she kicked and damaged a $35,000 Archibald Prize-listed painting of him and ex-wife Brynne Edelsten by artist Vivian Falk.

In November he complained to Melbourne East police that two watches, including a Breitling, several gold chains and his favourite DVDs, were taken by the glamour model.

gabi-edelston-after-faking-pregnancyMs Grecko told The Saturday Telegraph: “I think it’s sad all the things we said about each other when we broke up … I’d be upset if he filed for a divorce because at one point I thought I had found the one.

“I haven’t taken any of his belongings and I didn’t blackmail him. I hope we can talk at some point before any permanent proceedings.”

September will mark a year since the pair have lived separately, freeing either of them to file for divorce.

Mr Edelsten says he “can’t wait to ­officially get rid of her”.

“She has made my life a misery,” he said. “I’m finally enjoying life again and keen to date and proceed with my life and I can’t if I know she’s still in it, even if she is living in New York.

“The fact she has admitted to being a prostitute and part of the mile-high club makes me sick. The sooner we’re divorced, the better — but I want my money first and will be going to New York to get it.”

In June 2016, the wig-wearing socialite was outed as the high-class call girl at the centre of the NYPD in-flight orgy scandal, according to The New York Post.

Self Confessed, Part-Time Prostitute - Gabi Grecko

Self Confessed, Part-Time Prostitute – Gabi Grecko

Gabi allegedly had ‘group sex’ with disgraced NYPD Deputy Inspector James Grant, since-fired Detective Michael Millici and three other men in February 2013.

It was claimed in a federal corruption case filed this month that a pair of businessmen paid Gabi to entertain Grant during a flight to Las Vegas in exchange for official favours.

The reality TV star confirmed to the Post that she performed oral sex on the men in the cabin as they ‘laughed’ together.

Gabi, then working as an escort under the name ‘Candi,’ also claimed she had sex with multiple men simultaneously while ‘role playing’ as a flight attendant.

Ms Grecko met Mr Edelsten on dating site, and less than a year later the married in Melbourne last June.

Single Dads with Custody – Research into their psychological wellbeing

man-feeding-childMany men in Australia are the primary custodians of their children, but little is known about the psychological well-being of these fathers. The current study defines primary custodial fathers as men who have acquired primary custody of their children following separation, divorce or the death of the child/ren’s biological mother. Fathers who have since been in a defacto relationship or have re-married are also included within this definition.

This study will explore variables that might affect the psychological well-being of primary custodial fathers, including traditional masculinity beliefs, skills and self-efficacy, and social support. It is hoped that this research will advance our understanding of the well-being of fathers who are primary custodians of their children.


If you are a father:

  • who has primary custody of your children – (full, majority or shared/50-50)
  • with dependants under the age of 18
  • who is living in Australia

If you know anyone who matches this criteria and is willing to participate, or if you yourself would like to volunteer to participate in this research, which consists of an anonymous online questionnaire.

Please share this page, take note or click on the link below to enter the survey for more information.It should only take approximately 10 – 15 minutes and can be completed at a time convenient to you.

surveyDo the Survey Now

The online questionnaire will ask for demographic information such as age, relationship status, approximate income, place of residence and questions relating to the age and number of your dependants. Other questions will ask about your confidence and skills as a parent, how much social support you receive from friends and family, and questions about your current psychological well-being. Some of the questions also address concepts that have been associated with traditional masculine ideals, and will therefore ask about your attitudes towards women (e.g., “a man should always be the boss”), sexual behaviours and attitudes towards homosexuality.

Participants who have successfully completed the online questionnaire will have the opportunity to go into the draw to win one of three $30 gift cards. Thank you for considering participation in this study.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact my supervisor using the email address below, additional contact details of Federation University’s Human Research Ethics Committee are also available on the second page of the online questionnaire using the SurveyMonkey link.

Researcher: Gavin Duarte


Gavin Duarte

I am a Bachelor of Science graduate from Melbourne University, currently studying the Graduate Diploma of Psychology at Federation University. I am also a volunteer research assistant, collaborating over the past two years on a number of studies at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute based at The Royal Children’s Hospital. I have experience working in a diverse research environment filled with professionals such as Clinical Psychologists, Clinical Neuro-psychologists, Developmental Psychologists and Post-Doctoral researchers. These studies involve the use and manipulation of large databases, statistical and brain- imaging software. Career wise, I am passionate about working with adults and children of all ages and from all walks of life.

Principal Supervisor: Dr. Denise Corboy

Wives at War – money, property and pets – a very Sydney Divorce

Les Young and third (common law) wife, Josephine Smith.

Les Young and new wife, Josephine Smith.

It’s a nasty divorce that has already led to the liquidation of one pub and two fox terriers. Now it’s threatening a wealthy Sydney woman’s luxury waterfront penthouse and potentially a lot more.

The ex-wife and current partner of former multi-millionaire hotelier Les Young live in very different circumstances.

Ex-wife Joanne lives in a Campbelltown housing commission block. She was Mr Young’s second wife. His current partner, Josephine Smith, resides in a three-level Pyrmont penthouse.

After 10 years and a tortuous legal battle dragging through the NSW courts, these fortunes could reverse.

Joanne Young has been battling for years to secure a $3 million settlement from her ex-husband. So far she hasn’t got a cent.

On Tuesday her ex-husband’s partner, Josephine Smith, was found guilty of contempt of court for failing to respect a court order preventing her from using assets transferred to her by Mr Young.

Mr Young split with his second wife years ago. But the split became truly acrimonious in 2006, when he kicked her out of the Wiley Park Hotel, accusing her of stealing.

To add injury to insult Mr Young also ordered his ex-wife’s two terriers, Fluffy and Molly, be put down.

Joanne Young... seeking payment. Photo: Channel 7.

Joanne Young… seeking payment. Photo: Channel 7.

But the stealing allegation was found to be malicious. In 2013, a court ordered Mr Young pay his former wife $2.7 million, including $165,000 in damages after he was found to have deceived police for levelling the stealing claim against his former wife.

Mr Young’s assets were at the time found to be worth $9 million.

Five months later, Mr Young transferred the entire $5 million Pyrmont apartment to Ms Smith. His remaining share was sold to her for $1.8 million.

The next year, Mr Young went bankrupt, owing Ms Smith $4 million.

A court then froze Ms Smith’s assets. On Tuesday she was found guilty of breaching that order.

The court found Ms Smith, through a company, secured a large loan against the Pyrmont penthouse and used it to buy a new hotel, the Lucky Australian in St Marys.

A judge had earlier found that Ms Smith never told the bank, Westpac, that the apartment was subject to a court-ordered freeze.

On Wednesday  of the NSW Supreme Court found it was “inconceivable in the circumstances […Ms Smith] was unaware” of the order restraining her from encumbering diminishing or disposing of assets worth more than $1000.

Westpac sold the Lucky Australian earlier this month. It failed to recoup the sizeable loan.

Lawyers for Ms Young are continuing to fight for her share and other recent costs orders in her favour. Late last month her lawyers filed an application to declare Ms Smith bankrupt fearing their may be nothing left of her ex-husband’s former assets.

Now other financial companies are making moves in the Supreme Court on Friday to seize the Pyrmont penthouse to secure it and other debts.

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