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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 year.
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.

http://dailytelegraph.news.com.au (23-11-2004)
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