Domestic Violence Related to Problem Gambling, Says Study

Australia’s National Research Organization for Women’s Safety released new research looking into the relationship between gambling and domestic violence. Although gambling does not initiate domestic violence, it undoubtedly exacerbates it, says the study.

A New Research Focuses on Gambling and Its Relation to Domestic Violence

New research published earlier this week by Australia’s National Research Organization for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) found that gambling doesn’t cause intimate partner violence (IPV) but exacerbates it. The study was part of a project studying the relationship between gambling and violence against women. Titled “The relationship between gambling and intimate partner violence against women“, the report was based on series of interviews aiming at better understanding how gambling and IPV are related and what is the impact of gambling on men and women in a relationship.

A big part of the women who were interviewed responded that they have been subject to IPV. With that in mind, the violence would only intensify when combined with problem gambling, says the report. According to the study, almost all of the women whose partner had some form of problem gambling were subject to economic abuse. A study participant responded by saying: “He would take my bank card. He would take my money. He’d just take whatever he wanted…He tapped into my PayPal account.”

The study was led by Professor Nerilee Hing from Central Queensland University. She explained: “Gambling reinforces the gendered drivers of violence.” Hing outlined that since men are already in “control of decision-making” and gambling problem would “greatly intensifies the frequency and severity of IPV” towards women.

Gambling Venues Criticized for Ignoring Problem Gambling Behavior

The research outlined another controversial topic – are the gambling operators doing enough to protect players from gambling harm? According to Professor Hing, both women and service providers have criticized “gambling venues for largely ignoring problem gambling behaviors”.

The paper outlines that some gambling operators are not protecting clients from gambling harm. That results in severe gambling-related harms as well as physical and economic abuse towards women. According to the women who were interviewed, some venues completely ignored obvious indicators of problem gambling. Examples that the participants gave were that partners would gamble away an entire wage in a single day or make multiple ATM withdraws for the same gambling session.

Furthermore, the research found that IPV against women increased even when the woman was the one having a gambling problem. The study outlines that in such cases, men would blame gambling for all of the problems in the relationship. Some men would even use this as an excuse to perpetrate IPV. As a result of this, women who have experienced both physical and emotional violence have tried escaping from their partner by visiting a gambling venue. According to the research, this creates a cycle that fuels women’s gambling-problem but also increases the violence towards them.

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