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Being Scientific about Domestic Violence (twice updated)

© Peter Zohrab 2015

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My Letter

Minister's Reply

My Reply to the Minister

Afterthought Letter

Minister's Further Reply

My Further Letter

Open Letter to the Minister of Science and Innovation (slightly edited)

Dear Mr. Joyce,

I am writing to you again in your capacity as the highest ranking Minister who has had the benefit of a scientific education. I am concerned that Domestic Violence (“DV”) policy in New Zealand has not been based on scientific research, and I suggest that responsibility for this issue be moved from the Ministry of Justice to the Chief Science Adviser or the Ministry of Science and Innovation.

Although a few individual lawyers may have some science background, the legal profession as a whole does not. In fact, the mindset of the legal profession is profoundly unscientific, being based on the authority of lawmakers and on precedent. For example, the Law Commission’s initial publicity about its project on “Victims of family violence who commit homicide” concentrates on the history of policy initiatives in this area, and is entirely void of any reference to scientific research.

What has been happening is that Feminist psychologists have been developing so-called “theories” of DV, which presume that DV is mainly or wholly a matter of what men do to women. They do not test this hypothesis scientifically against objective data, but engage in studies which assume this model at the outset, and so appear to the uninitiated to prove that the model is correct. In this respect, the legal profession is worse than merely uninitiated, since it is actually brainwashed by Feminist propaganda on this subject at law school, through the Law Society and through the Institute of Judicial Studies.

This Law Commission exercise is based on the Fourth Annual Report of the Family Violence Death Review Committee, which is made up almost entirely of women and is headed by a woman, Julia Tolmie, whose career has been centered on attacking men and fathers . This report is completely devoid of any reference to objective, empirical or scientific research, but makes dogmatic statements and issues commands, as if it were some sort of religious priesthood in a man-hating cult. This approach fits in well with the authoritarian, legal approach.

This report also does not survey the vast amount of research that has been carried out on DV. It carries on the very common, ingrained Feminist tradition of totally ignoring all the research listed in Professor Martin Fiebert’s annotated bibliography of DV research . I refer you to Chapter 3 “Reconceptualising family violence,” which states, for example, that “This chapter is broken into three sections outlining the key areas where the family violence workforce needs to think differently about family violence to practice more effectively” (p.71).

This report starts off with a blatant lie, when Julia Tolmie refers in her introduction to “a culture of transparency and learning”. In fact, this report is based on qualitative, rather than quantitative research, involving various groups of man-haters interpreting cases in a maximally anti-male manner and avoiding any semblance of transparency as regards this process.

It is a huge indictment of the Justice Ministry and of the Law Commission that they have treated this report at all seriously.


This was the Minister's reply:


12 Jan 2016 letter from the Minister of Science and Innovation

I replied as follows:

Dear Mr. Joyce,

Thank you for your letter dated 12 January 2016, which was a reply to my letter of 8 November 2015. I am pleased to learn of the existence of Superu. Under the Official Information Act, could you please send me the documents which inform me:

1. how a whole-of-government approach can avoid being biased against men, given that your government has a Ministry of Women’s Affairs, but no Ministry of Men’s Affairs. I myself had to publicise the fact that the 1996 New Zealand National Survey of Crime Victims contained biased, anti-male questions (see 4dvlies.html -- bottom half of the page), and this was corrected in later versions of that Survey. However, unpaid activists such as myself cannot effectively or perpetually monitor all the anti-male activities of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and other feminists in government;

2. why you did not mention the vast amount of academic quantitative research on family violence (https://web.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm), some of which has been carried out in New Zealand (nzdvrsch.html);

3. why you did mention collecting quantitative data from the Police and Ministry of Justice, when this data has passed though various biasing filters, including the vagaries of who bothers to make a complaint to the Police in the first place, who the Police choose to believe if they turn up, how the lawyers choose to handle the case and who the judges choose to believe. The Police, lawyers and judges are largely anti-male, both because of chivalry and because of Feminist sexism – see, for example, the effect of gender on sentencing at http://www.justice.govt.nz/publications/publications-archived/1999/sentencing-in-new-zealand-a-statistical-analysis/documents/sentencing_1999.pdf ; and

4. what information leads you to state that “Family violence is a complex issue”. Everything is complex, but what is most complex about family violence is the politics of it. The idea of having the State interfere in families was initiated by Feminists, on the false assumption (carefully nurtured by vicious censorship and propaganda) that men assaulted women more than vice-versa. Therefore, you will possibly have been told that the issue is “complex”, as a way of derailing you from any logical journey from evidence to conclusions.

I am not arguing for a hands-off approach by the State – just pointing out the history of the issue. Many people in the “domestic violence industry” may well want to solve this problem – but some only want a solution if men are identified as the perpetrators and women as the victims. You can see this quite clearly if you compare the academic quantitative research with the police and court statistics. If your whole-of-government approach continues to find that most perpetrators are male, whereas the academic research (https://web.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm) does not, then you are perpetuating, or even intensifying, the problem, rather than solving it.

Yours sincerely,

Peter D. Zohrab

(The Minister's reply is below.)


And I sent the following letter, as an afterthought:


21 January 2016

Dear Mr. Joyce,

I trust you have received my letter dated yesterday.Further to your letter dated 12 January 2016, which was in reply to my letter of 8 November 2015, I am writing to add some further comments, because your short letter actually raises a lot of important issues.

  1. Reducing Rates of Family Violence. It is all very well having virtuous goals such as this, but the Government should make sure:-

    (a) that it understands the issue scientifically – as opposed to ideologically – and

    (b) that the Government’s own agencies are not so anti-male that they alienate males and lead males to resort to violence, for the reason that the Government’s own agencies only exist to help females;

  2. Victims. The Government needs to be sure that its agencies are capable of identifying the actual “victims”, rather than gender-profiling women as the default victims in all situations involving males;

  3. Evidence-Based Approach. Since the initial policy decision to pass laws which got the state involved in such household matters was initiated by Feminists who wanted to target male perpetrators, an evidence-based approach would look for evidence that such interventions have actually improved the situation. Since the Government’s agencies are anti-male, these interventions could easily have made matters worse.

  4. Qualitative Sources. I have studied the topic of Psychological Research at Massey University both at second-year level and third-year level.The second-year level course was what you might expect, but the third-year level course, which I did not complete, introduced students to qualitative research and also to the notion that subjective qualitative research was perfectly acceptable, since “all research was subjective”. The lecturer was a Feminist. For my part, I would have thought that it was possible to reduce subjectivity to a minimum, and that academics who believed that all research was subjective should be not be taken seriously, for the purposes of public policy development. Please be aware, if you are not already aware, that some activities that you are told is “qualitative research” may be knowingly and unapologetically subjective!

  5. International Practice. This phrase usually means that Feminists in New Zealand seek out fellow Feminists in the UK, US, Australia, etc. and report their activities as being the best thing since sliced bread. Please be aware that the approaches to Domestic Violence have the same failings in all countries where they are dominated by Feminists.

Yours sincerely,

Peter D. Zohrab


Minister's Further Reply



I replied as follows: The Complexity of Family Violence


See also:




Peter Douglas Zohrab

Latest Update

3 June 2022