Studio 10 fury: “Joe needs to look at his views …and get informed”

2014-04-02_1339Studio 10 finds itself in hot water today after Rosie Batty, the mother of a murdered 11 year old boy, took issue with comments by panelist Joe Hildebrand.

Her son Luke Batty died from head injuries inflicted by his father in an attack at Tyabb cricket oval on February 12th.

This morning the TEN show had a panel discussion about a new Victorian law announced yesterday. New laws make it a crime not to disclose a case of child sex abuse, with a maximum penalty of three years prison.

During a panel discussion, Hildebrand said that women who stayed in abusive relationships had no excuse for not reporting abuse against children.

“Obviously you can’t help but feel a huge amount of sympathy for anyone who’s in an abusive relationship but … you have to get out, you absolutely have to get out. There are huge economic costs associated with that, yes there are often other things, but anything is better than staying in an abusive relationship. Frankly, to say that you’re going to not report a case of child abuse or child sex abuse by your partner because you are scared for your own safety, I’m sorry, it is not an excuse,” he said.

But in a later interview, a distraught Rosie Batty blasted him for moving the focus onto women and not male perpetrators.

Panel Discussion / Rosie Batty interview:

“Joe, your comments are so, so misguided,” she said. “If you minimise how it feels to feel unsafe, and when we’re talking about unsafe, we’re talking about the risk to our lives, we’re talking about when women finally may decide to leave their partners they have the most risks.

“I am absolutely outraged. I was living in hope that because of Luke’s tragic death it would bring a huge awareness to family violence. This is beyond my comprehension how, again, the woman who is the victim is punished.

“Do you know what happened to me?” she asked. “Greg had finally lost control of me and the final act of control, which was the most hideous form of violence, was to kill my son. So don’t you ever think that if we don’t report it’s because we don’t want to. It’s because we are so scared about what might happen.

“Joe needs to look at his views as a man and he needs to step up and get informed. Because when I hear comments like that I am so saddened that the focus is still on the woman. Where the hell is the perpetrator? Why isn’t he being jailed for three years?”

When Sarah Harris tried to clarify the comments, Ms. Batty did not let up.

“I don’t care, Joe needs to look at his views as a man and step up and get informed,” she insisted.

During a 10 minute interview, Ita Buttrose and Jessica Rowe managed to widen the conversation to the issues rather than the more immediate passion, and found a positive end point in which Ms. Batty had a chance to talk about fund-raising efforts and the issues raised by new laws.

“I guess from my perspective when I sat here earlier, I really didn’t like the way the panel spoke about that situation. I still feel there is so much education to go for men and women about what I am now experiencing,” she said.

“But my fundraising, we had a huge day on Sunday and people’s understanding and comfort have made a huge difference to me.”

Statement from Joe Hildebrand:

“My comments today about proposed laws attempting to enforce the reporting of child sex abuse have been misrepresented and misunderstood.

For the record I do not support the jailing of domestic violence victims who fail to report child sex abuse, and never said that I did. On the contrary, I said I thought it was extremely unlikely it would ever happen and that under the proposed reforms women in fear for their safety were exempt.

My comments were in no way directed to or about Rosie Batty, who was scheduled to appear on the show for a separate segment about a fundraiser for her late son Luke. I am certainly very sorry for any distress they caused her.

To suggest that I support the jailing of women in these circumstances is completely wrong. In the initial segment I stated that I did not think anyone in that situation should or would be jailed. In the discussion that followed with Rosie Batty, I stated again that there was in fact a specific exemption for people who failed to report child sex abuse because they felt their safety was threatened.

There also appears to be some suggestion I said it was easy for women to leave abusive relationships, which again is simply not true. What I said was that it is vital that women do leave abusive relationships.

I also said the safety of a child must be paramount in considering these issues. If a child is being sexually abused then I strongly feel it is the responsibility of all those who are aware of it to report it. I also said that to allow a child to be continually exposed to sexual abuse is, frankly, inexcusable. I stand by this completely.

The main point that I repeatedly made was that tougher reporting requirements would hopefully act as a circuit breaker and point of contact to help liberate women and children from abusive relationships.

The paramount concern for me – and I suspect most people – is and must be the protection of children. We cannot allow a child to be exposed to abuse if it is in our power to stop it.”


  1. Joe Hilderbrand went too far with these type of sexist comments towards the interviewer. This is similar to the one on The Circle 2 years ago when Yumi and George mocked Ben Roberts Smith.

  2. once-upon-a-time

    I am not as up to date as I should be, for me to join in on this one,and without causing anymore distress to Ms Rose Batty, I may probably pose as many questions, while relating factual experiences in my own childhood, and later as first responders( ambo’s), when attending family/domestic disputes involving battered wives, that tend to be louder and more obviously brutal, than the secretive abuse inflicted on children, and regardless how neutral we tried to be when it was safe for all concerned, we often experienced the wrath from both parties, go figure?

    I’ve seen kids run and hide behind a brutal father when the police arrive, go figure?

    I’ve seen more family respect/loyalty?? from some kids of brutal parents, that some kids give to their parents who have laid the world at there feet, go figure ” Joe it aint just that simple”.

  3. I rarely agree with anything Hildebrand has to say however, his initial point, that the child is the priority, is impossible to argue with. However, his comments about getting out of a domestic violence situation showed a lack of understanding of the difficulties facing victims.

    I seriously question why the Victorian Legislation topic was discussed when Rosie Batty was scheduled to appear a couple of segments later. Ms Batty was there to discuss her son’s foundation, not domestic violence. The producer’s need to take some of the blame.

    How many people crucifying Hildebrand have actually watched the footage??

  4. single dad with a 10 year old my son wasnt abused he was neglected i threw my job in to care for him he is all that matters .i know it not the same thing but i have dropped evareything to give my son a better life,there wouldnt be any safe place for any perpurtrator to go if they touch my son no where not even prison

  5. Sorry but I’m siding with Joe. There is no excuse to let a child be sexually harassed or violently hurt! I can understand it if say the women could never leave the home so they didn’t have a chance to find help but the ones who can freely leave the home have no excuse. Love is blinding

  6. jezza the first original one


    I totally disagree with your view. The more debate about a subject, any subject, the better. Who are you to control what people say?

    The Luke Batty case is tragic and I want to hear Rosie Batty’s viewpoint as well as others that may not be in line with hers

  7. I can completely understand both Joe, and Rosie’s point of view. I do think that Rosie is very sensitive and emotional at the moment, which is completely understandable. It’s not as though Joe made the comments with her situation in mind, so in her current emotional state, I believe she has over-reacted.

  8. This is a complex and difficult subject. I see what Joe is saying through the eyes of a man who has never been in that situation and Rosie,who has lost her son due to her Mentally ill ex. Rosie shouldn’t be interviewed anymore,she is still grieving and starting to understand how she underestimated what her ex could and would do. Everything I have read about this case I would have called the police as soon as that man was seen at the Park .He had 3 outstanding warrants out for his arrest relating to abuse of Rosie. She would be going through so many mixed emotions now and to have her on the show for any reason to me is just not right and in some ways (even after she said she wouldnt do Press anymore) cruel and not a well thought out decision.DV is complicated and when I wanted to leave and approached my family for a small loan for a bond, I was refused and blamed for getting involved…

  9. daveinprogress

    Fascinating. I don’t ever get to see this show, but from this clip there seems to be a plethora of sensible and compassionate and empowered voices on it. I don’t think anybody on the panel can be demonized with this discussion.

  10. Sometimes, TV’s talking heads have no clue what they are on about. In this case black letter law is trying to achieve a remedy for gray area situations. Hilderbrand’s comments supporting a black/white remedy are naive at best.

  11. Hiledbrand is really such a fool and seems pathetic when you analyse the facts.
    Rose Batty really showed whatan incompetent person he is, as he didn’t analyse all the facts.
    The abuser should get the 3 years in prison, not the mother who is terrified of the abuser.

  12. It really annoys me when people look at it in black and white.

    For many victims of DV it’s not as simple as “I’ve had enough, I’m outta here”. The relationship between abuser and victim is very complex, and I doubt until someone has been in that situation or dealt with it, they can even comprehend the level of manipulation that is involved.

    Often these relationships start out ‘normal’ and even before anything physical has happened the mental abuse starts, people distance themselves from families, lose jobs, lose friends. Then when the violence starts they have no where to go, except back to the abuser.

    Like I said, It’s so complex, and every situation is different, but I just can’t believe that people still think it’s as easy as walking away.

  13. I can’t believe i’m typing this but i partially agree with Hildebrand. If a child is being abused sexually or physically and you know about it and choose to stay with the person doing it, i have no sympathy for you at all.

    The child comes first.

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