If any of you have played the old board game Cluedo (or Clue for the North American readers) this phrase says it all for you. It seems that this happens to be true in Australia. The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) recently released an updated report that analysed homicide statistics between 2002 and 2012. There were a few key findings that directly highlight the need for families to reach out for help early and often.
Many of us may focus on danger when we are out at night, walking down an unfamiliar street, or when a stranger approaches us on a train platform. Though it is sage advice for us all to be alert, cautious and aware of our surroundings to keep safe it seems we should use these skills at home more than anywhere else.
Statistics show that 2 of 5 murders are classified as domestic or family homicide. Of all murders the victim’s partner committed 23%. Further more they found it was more likely that a woman was the victim. If this were on one of those crime shows where they build a profile of the situation as they solve the crime it would look something like this:
The stabbing occurred in the summer on a Monday, Tuesday or Thursday. It happened in the family home between 6:00 pm and midnight. The victim and her male partner (the perpetrator) are between the ages of 35 and 49. It is probable that one or both of them were using drugs and it is especially likely that alcohol was involved. And most likely there has been domestic violence in their relationship in the past.
Having done couples and family therapy for many years my mind immediately goes to why aren’t more of these couples seeking counselling to resolve their differences?
Let me set down my optimistic banner of saving the world and making all relationships happy for just a moment. Even if the relationship isn’t salvageable & for various reasons you are just a really bad match as a couple why not try to have an amicable separation?
For the last few years I have worked a lot with divorced couples that were trying to navigate the treacherous waters of co-parenting. The ones who ended up coming out the other side the happiest (along with the most well balanced kids) were the ones that were able to accept the romantic relationship just didn’t work for them and move on. They were then able to set about creating a workable parenting relationship to get them through the next couple decades till their kids are grown.
Research like this hopefully can be a wakeup call for those in unhappy relationships that the time is now to fix it or move on.
Not to be just the bearer of bad news I feel I should share with you that there is hope. Over the years it has been great to see so many couples and families that have come into my office get their relationships back on track. Some of which were clearly on the edge if not hanging over it a bit. The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) found the following information when they analysed the effectiveness of couple and family therapy.
After receiving treatment, almost 90% of clients report an improvement in their emotional health, and nearly two-thirds report an improvement in their overall physical health. A majority of clients report an improvement in their functioning at work, and over three-fourths of those receiving marital/couples or family therapy report an improvement in the couple relationship. When a child is the identified patient, parents report that their child’s behavior improved in 73.7% of the cases, their ability to get along with other children significantly improved and there was improved performance in school.
If you or someone you know is struggling with your relationships I hope you will make the choice to invest in them today. Our intimate relationships can be the source of some our greatest joys and deepest sorrows. The time, money and emotion you invest to strengthen your relationship may just be returned with interest as well as save a life.
For any of you who would like to read the full AIC report it is available at:
For more information on marriage and family therapy you can visit the AAMFT at:
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