Erasing Women’s Abuse of Children Is Hurting Australian Kids

December 1, 2021 Updated: December 1, 2021


For the last quarter-century, our official Australian statisticians have been refusing to publish data on the gender of perpetrators of child abuse—information vital to child protection.

The reason is simple. Our once world-leading reforms to family law encouraging shared parenting have been very effectively derailed by claims this puts youngsters at risk through exposing them to violent fathers.

But imagine if the truth emerged that mothers pose just as great a risk as fathers of physical and psychological abuse and neglect of children.

This might even give a family court judge pause before he gives a nod to the current default position of believing a woman’s claims that she’s a safer option.

That’s the last thing feminist bureaucrats want—hence they work hard, with the help of compliant media, to ensure all relevant government bodies toe the line.

Epoch Times Photo
A woman waves a feminist flag as student protesters shout slogans during a demonstration marking International Women’s Day in Barcelona, Spain, on March 8, 2019. (Pau Barrena/AFP via Getty Images)

Back in 1996, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) published a paper on child abuse and neglect which included the provocative finding that mothers were nearly twice as likely (628 compared to 331 cases) as fathers to be responsible for abuse or neglect, according to data from the states and territories for which information was available. Unsurprisingly, the paper is no longer available on the AIHW website.

The research paper noted that the more substantiated abuse cases involving children were from female single-parent families than other types of families.

When this revealing data was picked up by the media, the sisterhood flexed its muscles and the next year the AIHW announced their decision no longer to publish figures on the gender of perpetrators of child abuse.

Their explanation was fatuous—claiming not all states had provided relevant statistics, which was also true for the data that caused the stir in 1996.

It’s rare that cracks emerge in this carefully controlled wall of silence regarding child safety.

In 2008, a freedom of information request forced the West Australian Department of Child Protection to cough up their statistics which showed that mothers were perpetrators in 73 percent of cases of neglect and abuse by parents in 2007-8.

Mothers were also responsible for almost 68 percent of cases of emotional and psychological abuse by parents, around 53 percent of physical abuse, and more than 93 percent of all neglect cases.

But in the main, the carefully constructed narrative holds firm, with nothing allowed to detract from the plotline.

An article about “Who Abuses Children?” from the Australian Institute of Family Studies follows the feminist script by conveniently lumping together fathers and stepfathers to claim twice as many children are physically abused by dads than mums.

Earlier this year journalist Angela Shanahan wrote for The Weekend Australian about the feminist war on men. She included a discussion of the reporting of filicide, where parents kill their children.

As Shanahan explained, a father who kills his child is labelled a monster whilst the media indulges in endless psychobabble finding excuses as to how a mother could possibly do such a thing.

detail of mother and child-fritz zuber buhler
“Mother and Child With Cat” by Fritz Zuber Buhler. (Public Domain)

Shanahan mentioned research from a 2012 national study of filicide which found that although slightly more of the perpetrators were men, children were actually most likely to be killed by their mothers than their fathers.

Of the total of 284 children killed between 2000 and 2010 by a parent or a stepparent most (133) were killed by their mothers, 81 were killed by their fathers, with the remaining children killed by stepfathers.

Thea Brown, the lead author of the 2012 study, then leapt into print with a letter to the editor, claiming it was “not helpful to demonise any perpetrator group.”

Having included these figures in early drafts of her article, detailed figures on gender of perpetrators disappeared from all subsequent versions of the article published by Brown et al.

Shanahan found herself up before the Press Council defending the figures she quoted in the article—ultimately successfully. The statistics have now been removed from The Australian’s website.

Recently Australia has seen dreadful killings by mothers of their children. “Why are more mothers killing their children?” asked the magazine Marie Claire in a rare article on this subject two years ago.

Naively, the article asks why nothing is being done to address the issue of filicide.

The answer is simple. Women are the major perpetrators, and no one wants to know. The same picture emerges from countries everywhere.

A very large study published in the British Medical Journal in 2017 reviewed 9,431 studies to produce data from 33 countries and found that mothers committed 54.7 percent of all parental homicides.

The latest 2019 data from America’s Child Maltreatment reports show child homicides involving fathers compared to mothers, either acting alone or with a non-parent.

The risk to children is over twice as large from a mum, or mum plus boyfriend. The same report shows over twice as many American cases of child abuse are perpetrated by mums acting alone than dads—39.0 percent compared to 22.6 percent.

It is absolutely perverse that judges are using untested domestic violence accusations to keep fathers away from their children—ignorant of the fact that research shows women are just as likely to be involved in any form of violence.

Conveniently the Australian courts are also being denied the official data showing the very much greater risks to children of living in sole mum households, particularly with strange men passing through their lives.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Bettina Arndt is an Australian writer and social commentator on gender issues. She was the country’s first sex therapist and feminist, before focusing on men’s rights. Arndt has authored several books and has written for major newspaper titles, magazines, and has featured regularly on television. She received the Order of Australia in 2020 for her work in promoting gender equity through advocacy for men. Find her online at her blog,