Growing up in the 50s and 60s in what was meant to be the half gallon, quarter acre, Pavlova paradise there was for some of us more of the half gallon than the paradise.

It was the days of the six o'clock swill where men piled into bars, which were hidden by law from public view by frosted windows, when they clocked out of work at five o'clock and drank as much as they could force down their throats before the last orders were called an hour later.

They staggered home expecting their meat and three veg meal to be on the table, the kids to be bathed and ready for, if not in bed. If the missus didn't have the slippers at the ready chances are there'd be a bit of biffo. If the kids objected, they too got a clip around the ears at best, or a thrashing at worst.

Housewives in those days were subservient to their husbands, in fact they even used to go by their husband's names only, known as Mrs Joe Bloggs. For violence to occur in their homes brought shame. Their bruises were either covered up, or they'd remained indoors for several days while they faded. It was easier then to remain out of sight, the groceries were delivered.


They stayed in their unhappy marriages because to leave brought destitution, there was no welfare net to fall into. The statistics would have been bad back then, but who'd know because nobody kept them and no-one was much interested in what went on in the home.

It was an ordered society, a woman's place was most certainly in the home being a good, but in many cases, a battered and unhappy wife, while a man's was in the pub, desperately pouring that last jug of beer before the doors were closed.

Today the statistics are known and for a country like this they're shameful.

More than 110,000 police callouts a year to homes where mainly the husband is running amok, with children present at nearly two thirds of the callouts. On average 10 to 14 children, or one a month, are being murdered each year.

A two year review of our domestic violence law will see 50 new charges for the police to play with. The victim's rightly at the heart of the changes with protection orders being allowed to be taken out by those who observe the violence, like a mother or father-in-law, who've up until now felt helpless.

Charges are all very well, they'll hopefully stop the madness in the short term but won't cure the problem in the longer term. That'll only come when we understand and fully respect the word, family.