White Ribbon Australia says a US men's rights group has hijacked their name and message.
Australian domestic violence prevention group White Ribbon is considering legal action against a US men's rights group who have hijacked their name.
The group has launched a rival website named whiteribbon.org, claiming that abuse against women is overstated at the expense of men.
White Ribbon Australia chief executive Libby Davies accused the Texas-based group, A Voice for Men, of trying to undermine its campaign to prevent violence against women and children.
"A Voice for Men is using almost fraudulent practices to guide people away from White Ribbon by using a url called whiteribbon.org," she told a Senate committee hearing into domestic violence.
White Ribbon Australia, which uses the domain name whiteribbon.org.au, has sought legal advice to see what action can be taken against the US site which is asking for donations to fund its defence.
A Voice for Men founder Paul Elam denied fraudulent use of the domain name, saying that he was the legal owner.
"The term 'white ribbon' is not trademarked except by a wine company in the United States," he said.
"There is no trademark infringement here. The domain whiteribbon.org is legally owned by me. I fail to see where any notion of fraud might be."
Speaking at the public hearing of the federal inquiry, Ms Davies claimed an Australian men's group, the One in Three Campaign, was also trying to derail the domestic violence message.
"We find their strategies very disrespectful," she said. "We have not used similar strategies to undermine them."
One in Three Campaign representatives Greg Andresen and Andrew Humphreys told the hearing they were speaking up for male victims of domestic violence whose plight was ignored due to the focus on women, calling for more male-only support services.
"We want to see male victims acknowledged . . . male victims need to feel more comfortable coming forward," Mr Andresen said. "There is a stigma."
The Australian Bureau of Statistics' personal safety survey found that 16.9 per cent of women had experienced partner violence since the age of 15 compared with 5.3 per cent of men.
Mayet Costello, research manager of Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety, acknowledged that men also suffer violence but were at lower risk than women.
"Resources should be directed to where they are most needed," she said.
Larissa Waters, the Greens senator who initiated the inquiry, said it revealed the widespread prevalence of domestic violence despite a national plan to reduce the problem.
"We are seeing escalating violence against women and their children and when you look at the budget, it cuts many of the services women need to escape violence," she said.
"The cuts to housing and to community legal centres will keep women in violent situations. They have nowhere to go and that is the most tragic thing."
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