Police Chief Attacks Standards
POLICE Commissioner Ken Moroney yesterday launched a
scathing attack on how our society had encouraged males
to lose "fundamental respect" for women.
Expressing dismay at new rape figures revealing more than
4000 people report a sexual assault in NSW every year, Mr
Moroney said parents must start taking responsibility for
the way their children behaved towards others.
"Where that respect factor begins, I believe, is not
necessarily in high school -- perhaps it's not even
necessarily in primary school -- it begins in the home,
in the family," Mr Moroney said.
"I think there are a range of factors -- the fundamental
issue of respect, respect for women in the community, respect
for women in the home, respect for women in the workplace and
indeed the social environment is an important ingredient."
Mr Moroney blamed an increase in violence on TV and in films
for changes in values that "underpin the community".
His comments come as the State Government is considering a
special sex-crimes court to ease the trauma for rape victims
giving evidence against their attackers.
Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research figures released
yesterday show 4054 people reported a sexual assault in the
year to the end of June, a marginal increase on the previous
Another 5169 reported an indecent assault, an act of
indecency or other sexual offence. Mr Moroney said the
figures revealed more people were confident to report
sex attacks rather than a direct increase in rapes.
But a renewed push for a sex crimes court and a refocused
police strategy on rape investigation would "provide a stronger
focus in direction".
Asked why more women were reporting sex attacks, he said:
"There's probably a PhD thesis in that for somebody, and
I don't wish to sound flippant when I say that.
"The issue of the breakdown of respect for families, for
institutions within the community that support the community,
that underpin the community's values, I think have taken a
fair battering, particularly over the past decade or two.
"The issue of violence, particularly as portrayed in movies
and on television must have an ... effect on how and why they
[rapists] commit these crimes."
Social researcher Dr Fiona Allon said a conservative backlash
towards feminism had lessened respect toward women in the past decade.
"The [sexual assault] problems in rugby league recently have
really exemplified this quite sexist, misogynistic attitude
towards women in sporting cultures," said the researcher from
the University of Western Sydney's Centre for Cultural Research.
"We live in such conservative times that a lot of people are
reinforcing old-fashioned, very traditional ideas which actively work against women."
Minister for Women Sandra Nori said reporting of sexual assaults
had increased in the past decade, but it was probably still under-reported.
"Respect for all people, particularly for women, starts in the family," Ms Nori said.