For too many decades, despite forming 40% of the victims of domestic abuse men have received little or no support from the State.
A letter written by Stephen Fitzgerald to Baroness Scotland on 5th May 2004 requesting a meeting to discuss funding for the ManKind helpline received the following reply on 10th June 2004 commenting “Although domestic violence does occur irrespective of gender, sexuality, and background, we cannot lose sight of the fact that it is predominantly women who tend to be victims of domestic violence and who are more likely to suffer lasting damage to their physical and mental health, affecting their ability to work, to support themselves, to maintain their self confidence and build a new life. As a result the Government’s main focus on domestic violence is with female victims”.
In short, does Baroness Scotland presume that men and their children do not suffer lasting damage to their physical and mental health etc. The heading on the letter was “THE GOVERNMENT’S COMMITMENT TO SUPPORTING ALL VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE” This should have been altered to “UNLESS YOU ARE A MAN WITH CHILDREN.” This is how the situation has remained since 2004 despite the insistence on human rights, equality and social inclusion being applied to all people except men and their children.
The huge problem, is that the children of men are also excluded due to this Gender Apartheid Policy of successive Governments. Children have suffered the same level of abuse as men and additionally suffer from the abuse through separation from their fathers due to broken contact orders on a huge scale. This situation cannot be allowed to continue and gender politics must be consigned to the dustbin and equal support given to all those suffering from domestic abuse which includes all men, women and children.
- Of the men interviewed in the Pilot Study, 77% had children. Converting this into numbers – A total of 800,000 male sufferers of domestic abuse equals 616,000 Men with children.
- An average family is 1.7 children. QED 616,000 Children x 1.7 = 1.05m Children witnessing the abuse, but being the children of men they will have to go at the end of a very long queue.
- NB this figure does not include children with no rights to see their father after divorce
- 1 in 4 women suffer from domestic abuse over a lifetime BCS 1996
- 1 in 6 men suffer from domestic abuse over a lifetime BCS 1996
- Twice as many men ( 28% ) than women ( 13% ) do not tell anyone about the domestic abuse they are suffering highlighting the level of under-reporting. If these men reported domestic abuse at the same rate as women it is not unreasonable to say that their numbers would be at least in line with women’s statistics.
- Only 10% of male victims contact the police compared to 29% of female victims.
- 1 in 3 domestic abuse victims are men. 1.2m victims are women and 0.8m victims are men Crime survey 2011/12.
- Surprisingly more married men (2.3%) than women (1.8% ) suffered from domestic abuse.
We currently have:
- A “Violence against Women & Girls” framework (VAWG) set up by Theresa May – covering the period 2016 to 2020
- A Coercion Act introduced in 2015
- A Domestic Abuse Bill introduced in 2020
This is supposed to be gender neutral – but continually emphasises that women are the main victims. There is a danger that the effect will result in doing nothing of any real substance to help Men and their Children. Note, the word Children was mentioned because while the gender politics continue, Children are suffering alongside their Fathers. However this does not appear to enter the Establishment’s conscience.
- A Minister for Men is essential as he or she can work on behalf of Men and Children in order to help deliver an open and balanced Domestic Abuse Law.
- The new Domestic Abuse Bill must ensure that all victims of domestic abuse regardless of gender, race, sexuality and especially children are given equal support and proportionate funding.
Domestic Abuse Bill
There is much in the bill to commend:
- Statutory definition of Domestic Abuse including emotional, coercive and emotional abuse
- It does not cover, however, broken contact orders and parental alienation which causes untold misery to both children and fathers.
- Domestic Abuse Commissioner
- New Domestic Protection Order and Notice
- Place a duty on local authorities in England to provide support to victims of domestic abuse and their children in refuges and other safe accommodation
- How will men with or without children obtain a referral as they are unlikely to be in a refuge or place of safety.
- Prohibit perpetrators of abuse from cross-examining their victims in person in the family courts in England and Wales.
- This automatically assumes that the defendant is guilty and that the allegation is true and should not be adopted as it contravenes Article 6 of the European Human Rights Treaty. (See further information on Article 6) – see notes on Domestic Abuse Bill TV Programme
- Special measures in Criminal Courts eg video link for victims
- Polygraph testing
- Clare’s Law
- Secure lifetime tenancies
- Extension of jurisdiction
The non-statutory commitments include:
- Introduce regulations and statutory guidance on Relationship Education, Relationship and Sex Education, and Health Education.
- Invest in domestic abuse training for responding agencies and professionals.
- Develop national guidance for police on serial and repeat perpetrators.
- Improve awareness and understanding of coercive control offence and review effectiveness of offence.
- Continue to develop means to collect, report and track domestic abuse data.
Excellent providing all guidance and training is undertaken in gender neutral and fully inclusive terms.
The 2015 Coercion Act will stand alongside the new Domestic Abuse Bill which is being identified as being gender neutral. The Coercion Act is far from gender neutral and will not help Men and Children who find themselves in a controlling/coercive situation in the home. Emphasis on Women and Girls only will make it difficult for men asking for help.
Excerpts from the Act include:
- “While all legislation is gender neutral, and men can also be victims of this offence, statistics consistently show that women and girls are disproportionately affected by crimes of domestic violence and abuse.”
- “In 2014/15, 92.4% of defendants in domestic abuse flagged cases were male. Where recorded, the proportion of female victims has remained steady at 84%, since 2010-11 (CPS Violence Against Women and Girls Crime Report 2014/15).”
- “Controlling or coercive behaviour is primarily a form of violence against women and girls and is underpinned by wider societal gender inequality. This can contribute to the ability of the offender to retain power and control, and ultimately the ability of the victim to access support and leave safely. It is, therefore, important to consider the role of gender in the context of power and control within a relationship when identifying controlling or coercive behaviour in heterosexual relationships.”
- The government warns that controlling or coercive behaviour is primarily a form of violence against women and girls – and is underpinned by wider societal gender inequality.
This is the worst form of Gender Apartheid and quite simply misleading. Stephen Fitzgerald of MWWT spent a number years running a helpline from home with a detailed breakdown of all forms of violence ranging from physical to mental. 87% of male callers testified that they could cope with the kicks, slaps etc but that the mental abuse was unbearable on both them and their children. It included control/coercion, screaming, shouting, economic and sexual abuse, use of the children.
Effects of all this on the children of fathers who are not able to access help is totally unacceptable. Put quite bluntly, these misleading comments must be removed and a more balanced picture put forward if domestic abuse is to be brought under total control and not partial control.
Set up in 2015 by Theresa May this is a very comprehensive set of measures designed to protect women and girls from all forms of violence. No stone has been left unturned and in time will produce an excellent outcome.
It has one serious flaw – men and boys are only added as an afterthought and in these days of Human Rights, Equality and Social Inclusion this is an insult to all men and boys and forms part of the gender apartheid practised in the UK whether in the Family Courts, Domestic Abuse, Boys Education, the use of the Bench Book, and Homelessness.
By focusing on Women and Girls and not on the whole population, the problem of Domestic Abuse in all its forms will never be dealt with.
Provision of Refuge
- There is a considerable shortage of emergency accommodation for male victims of domestic abuse, including those with children despite the fact that local councils have the same legal responsibility under the Housing Act 1986 and the Equality Act 2010, and to adult/child safeguarding as they do for female victims including those with children.
- There are just 19 organisations offering refuge or safe house provision for male victims in the UK – a total of 78 spaces. Of these only 20 spaces are dedicated to male DV victims (the rest being for victims of either gender). Seven of these places cannot accommodate men with children.
The new Domestic Abuse Act must ensure that Refuge provision is provided at the correct levels for both Men and Women, with or without Children. It is not enough to claim that Gender Neutral language is now being. It must be backed up by ensuring that refuge funding is based on need for both Men and Women.