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Letter to AISRAP

Data on suicides in Australia

Naoko Ide
Researcher
Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) and
WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Suicide Prevention
Mt Gravatt Campus, Griffith University
Nathan QLD 4111

n.ide@griffith.edu.au
http://www.griffith.edu.au/school/psy/aisrap/


Cc: Professor Diego De Leo
Director
Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP)
d.deleo@griffith.edu.au
http://www.griffith.edu.au/school/psy/aisrap/

Dear Naoko,
Simon Hunt has passed on an email from you where you mention, in relation to suicides relating to family breakdown:

"I agree with you that issues with shared parenting, child residence and other legal processes are crucial factors, and that's why we ask these issues in our survey.  We need voices from men like yourself so we can move forward in the right direction".

May I add my voice to the cry of frustration ?

The fact that Coroners and Suicide Researchers around Australia (with perhaps the exception of the Coroner in Gosford NSW) have never, to my knowledge, looked into these crucial factors, and certainly not in a systematic way, is so incredible to me that it makes one wonder whether there is not a deliberate policy to avoid the issues.

I have seen studies of suicide where they focus on the methods - hanging, carbon monoxide, firearms etc, but do not look for the causes of suicide such as:
* family breakdown, and whether this might have involved a
* Family Court case,
* restricted access to the children,
* allegations of violence or child abuse which the suicide victim alleged were false but was unable to prove,
* claims that Child Support payments were too high
* other parent moved away, possibly with permission of the Family Court of Australia
* all the above and in relation to sickness or injury


It doesn't need to be established if the family breakup, or the allegations, or the Family Court process, or the disability, or the CSA payments were the cause of the suicide.  Rather, it merely needs to be established in what percent of suicides were these factors present. 

(Also qualitative information such as suicide notes which indicate certain factors would also be helpful).

What is more important - what method they used, or why they committed suicide ?  If we found most people suicided by hanging what are we going to do - restrict the sale of rope ?

Could you please provide any statistics of any studies (please provide full references) that have been done in Australia in this regard relating to suicides of both men and women - ever ?  My guess is that you are not able to produce any.  I hope I am wrong.

I suggest there also needs to be research into the link between such suicides and murder of the ex-partner and/or the children.  Even though homicide may be outside your discipline, there is a clear connection when placed in the context of the above, and I would have thought it would be necessary to include such homicide research to understand the complete nature of this important component of suicides (10% ?  20% ?) in Australia.

How can there possibly be an "Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP)" which hasn't asked these very obvious questions ?

I look forward to any data you may be able to provide as there are at least 8,000 tax-paying Dads (and Mums) of various community groups who are very interested in this issue and who are currently waiting for some answers.

Thankyou for taking the trouble to respond to us.

Kind Regards,
Geoff Holland

prism@optusnet.com.au

Coordinator, Equal Parenting Movement

Co-director, Fathers4Equality

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