Laws lashed for line on violence

The Families Commission has joined the father of a prominent domestic abuse victim in criticising broadcaster Michael Laws' suggestion that women who stay in abusive relationships deserve what they get.

Mr Laws made the comments in reference to a survey tracing the correlation between family violence and animal cruelty undertaken in a joint project by the SPCA and Women's Refuge, and published in yesterday's Dominion Post.

The Pets as Pawns study revealed violence or threats of violence against animals was often a way for abusive partners to maintain control over their families.

Mr Laws raised the study on his radio show yesterday, saying women who stayed in abusive relationships for the sake of their pets were morons.

"Do we need to feel any sympathy for women or men in plights such as this? ... Do these women deserve to be abused almost, in fact invite it? If that's their reason for staying?"

David White, whose daughter Helen Meads was shot and killed by her husband at the couple's Matamata stables in 2009 after years of abuse, said he could not stay silent over such comments.

"No one deserves to be abused, killed or raped ..."

Families Commission chief commissioner Carl Davidson said: "To suggest ... women can be deserving of violence is not only uninformed, it's abhorrent."

The Dominion Post