How it happened
Rob Tiller is an experienced, well-respected counsellor who has worked for the key counselling organisation, Relationship Australia WA (RAWA) for the past eight years. He was well-liked by his colleagues and much in demand as the only male counsellor working in the Perth headquarters, running workshops as well as seeing clients.
He was part of a professional men’s network involving many people from similar professions, exchanging ideas and providing support to colleagues. Last year Rob posted a link on his private Facebook page to an article, written by Bettina and published in The Weekend Australian. He was also involved in an email exchange with his network about the article.
The offending article
The article, Always Beating Up On Men, presented the latest official statistics and research on domestic violence, providing evidence that family violence is usually two-way, involving women as well as men. Here’s a video featuring Dr Tonia Nicholls, a professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, presenting some of the international research which demonstrates this to be the case.
In March this year he discovered that a member of his network had taken screenshots of this discussion and sent them to Rob’s managers at RAWA.
This government-funded organisation promotes a feminist framework on domestic violence which, contrary to the international evidence, downplays women’s role in family violence. See the RAWA Domestic Violence Policy
Unlike the equivalent organisations in other states like NSW, the West Australian branch provides no services for male victims of family violence. Here are some of the services being provided by the NSW branch of the organisation.
Programmes run by RAWA exclude male victims of domestic violence
Rob was asked to attend a meeting with RAWA executives. He didn’t seek legal advice because he never expected his job was at stake. During the meeting he was told he had breached the RAWA domestic violence policy by promoting Bettina’s article in emails with his network where he used his customary RA email address. Bettina’s article contained statements that conflicted with the organisation’s domestic violence policy. The executive officers were unable to produce regulations stating it was not permitted for staff to communicate in this manner.
They also claimed it breached the organisation’s social media policy for Rob to post cartoons on his private Facebook page which “made fun of feminism” – Rob had a couple of jokes about feminism on his site. The executives alleged these breaches pointed to “unconscious bias” which impacted on Rob’s capacity to service clients effectively.
Resign or be fired
The next day Rob was asked to meet with the RAWA Human Resources Manager who explained to him that if he didn’t resign he would be fired which would lead to a black mark on his record, adversely affecting his future employment prospects. This was March 15 and Rob tendered his resignation later that day.
But in the meantime he was not permitted to see any clients who were booked in on that day nor allowed to contact them in any way. The clients booked in that day were contacted by administrative staff on the 14th and told Rob had resigned, the day before he actually did so.
Not being able to have a final appointment with his clients was distressing to Rob who had been working with some of these clients for many years and was given no opportunity to end his professional relationship with them with appropriate closure.
RAWA misled clients about the resignation
RAWA is now claiming that Rob resigned rather than was fired by the organisation. The fact that the organisation cancelled Rob’s appointments a day before he actually resigned undermines this claim.
The management forced Rob’s resignation without providing any prior warnings about their concerns and gave him no opportunity to correct what they perceived as his wrong-doings, nor made any attempt to discuss with him the reasons for their ultimate action prior to their precipitous, unprofessional meetings which forced him out of his job.
Rob’s work performance has always been exemplary – his most recent performance review concluded his work was excellent and he was rewarded with a pay rise for his outstanding therapeutic work with clients.
No gender equity
Rob was the only male counsellor working at the Perth office. Since his forced resignation there are only female counsellors, an extraordinary situation for an organisation claiming to offer couple counselling.
Unfair dismissal application
Rob has now taken legal action and has taken RAWA to the Fair Work Commission claiming unfair dismissal.
Bettina is organising a campaign to protest this action by Relationships Australia WA and to draw attention to the fact that this government-funded organisation is promoting feminist ideology rather than providing proper help to all victims of domestic violence.
She seeks your help in providing urgent financial support for Rob to help cover his legal costs and assist him in expanding his private practice and developing his workshops.
Here’s information about how to support our crowd-funder.
Your chance to make a difference
Bettina constantly hears from people concerned about the demonization of men in our society and efforts by feminists to impose their ideology to distort proper debate on important social issues.
Here’s your chance to stand up and make a difference.
You can help our campaign by writing protest letters to board members of Relationships Australia WA and key people in their Federal office in Canberra. Here are the email addresses of the board members. We’d like you to write protest letters to any or all of these people.
Please also write to Alison Brook, the National Executive Officer for Relationships Australia and express your concern about these actions by RAWA management and their domestic violence policy.You may like to also write to local MP’s in WA about this scandal.
See this draft letter including points you might like to raise in your protest letters. Obviously individually crafted letters are preferable, but Bettina thought it might be helpful to have a framework to use. Note this draft letter is designed primarily for board members of RAWA. It would be helpful if you could also write to the National Executive pointing out the actions and policies of the WA branch is bringing the reputation of their entire organisation into disrepute. You will have to redraft the letter for this purpose.