A domestic violence advocate has been blasted over claims firefighters trying to bring Australia’s bushfire crisis under control will return home to beat their partners.
Greens Senator Larissa Waters held a press conference on Wednesday where domestic violence advocate Sherele Moody made the extraordinary claim.
‘After a cataclysmic event like this, domestic violence peaks,’ Ms Moody said on Wednesday afternoon as Senator Waters watched on.
‘Women become extremely unsafe when, generally, the men return home from the fires and subject them to domestic violence.’
A domestic violence advocate has claimed that firefighters battling devastating Australian bushfires will return home to beat their partners (pictured: Firefighters battle a spot fire in Hillville)
Ms Moody, the head of the Red Heart Campaign against domestic violence, took to Facebook to double down on her claims.
‘What happens when domestic violence perpetrators finish their work on the frontline of a major crisis? They abuse women in their lives – harder than they ever have,’ she wrote.
‘I am not saying every firefighter, emergency service responder or victim of this crisis is a perpetrator.’
The Greens are now distancing themselves from Ms Moody after widespread backlash.
‘Such a shocking, shocking statement to make … You have just insulted every firefighter in Australia, and that I could never forgive or forget, just unbelievable,’ one woman wrote on Facebook.
‘This is how radical greens party are and what they stand for, they have no shame insulting Australian heroes (firefighters) saving homes in NSW in last couple days and in QLD in coming days,’ another said.
‘I’m totally disgusted by this, the bulk of firefighters regardless of being paid or volunteer do so to serve their community which requires a very special mindset of care which is not comparable with this disturbing statement,’ another wrote.
A statement from Senator Waters said the party ‘does not support the statement made today by Sherele Moody that firefighters are responsible for an increase in domestic violence during times of disaster’.
Greens Senator Larissa Waters (left) held a press conference on Wednesday where domestic violence advocate Sherele Moody (right) made the allegation
‘Ms Moody is not affiliated with the Greens and does not speak for us,’ the statement read.
‘Today’s press conference with Senator Waters was held to receive a petition regarding the Family Law Inquiry.’
‘Ms Moody chose to make comments regarding matters unrelated to the press conference without our prior knowledge.’
Ms Moody claimed evidence from the aftermath of the deadly Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria in 2009 suggested women ‘experienced an increase in violence from their partners’ after such disasters.
She cited work from Dr Debra Parkinson, who spoke to women following the Black Saturday fires, and called for governments to respond to the ‘heightened’ risk.
But Dr Parkinson told Seven News that although she did find an increase in family violence in fire-affected communities, she did not say it was about firefighters.
When this was brought up to Senator Waters, she said: ‘We note the research that violence increases during times of disasters.’
A Tuncurry fire crew member fights part of the Hillville bushfire south of Taree, in the Mid North Coast region of NSW on Tuesday
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