Although the British government is a Conservative-led coalition, and Theresa May, Home Secretary, a Conservative politician, the Home Office is no less feminist-driven than those in preceding Labour administrations with respect to its approaches to domestic abuse. With only seven months before the general election, the Home Office is engaged in a highly flawed consultation process on “strengthening” the law on domestic abuse. If the legislation is ever introduced, the vast majority of those adversely affected will be men, we can be very sure, because the state’s approach to domestic abuse is based upon the utterly discredited “male coercion theory” of domestic abuse—the “Duluth model.”
We recently publicly challenged Theresa May to suspend the consultation, and to hold a public inquiry instead, as reported on AVfM here. While we wait for her response, we decided to make a submission to the inquiry.
J4MB has some remarkable supporters. One of them recently completed a lengthy report on the institutional anti-male bias of public bodies, mostly in relation to the state’s approach to domestic violence. He generously agreed to J4MB using the document as the basis for our submission to the Home Office inquiry, and a second supporter and myself spent long hours working on the document. The final report is 118 pages long, and it’s here.
On behalf of J4MB, I wrote a foreword for the report, which should give a flavour of its contents. It takes up the remainder of this article:
The continuing failure of public bodies to recognize the suffering of male victims of partner violence, and their failure to support these men at times of crisis, are long-standing scandals.
One of the most solidly established facts in the social sciences is that the incidence and severity of domestic violence inflicted on men is comparable to that inflicted on women. This is not a recent finding. Researchers have known it for 40 years. Yet the narrative to which the public is exposed paints a very different picture, one in which domestic violence overwhelmingly involves female victims and male perpetrators. These contrasting perspectives are examined at length in this report.
The Home Office recently published a highly flawed consultation document on strengthening the law on domestic abuse, drafted with the input of Women’s Aid, and associated it with an equally flawed consultation process.[i] In a letter to Theresa May, Home Secretary, we explained why the consultation is a charade—an exercise in manipulation, with one direction of travel. We fear the legislation will be used, in practice, to advantage women over their male partners in a situation fraught with difficulty, as a result of ignoring the overwhelmingly large body of evidence that shows beyond any doubt that domestic violence and domestic abuse are broadly reciprocal. We publicly challenged Mrs May to hold a public inquiry into strengthening the law on domestic abuse,[ii] and we await her response.
Our letter included a link[iii] to our public challenge of Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, over her organisation’s lies and misleading statements about domestic violence, which she declined to retract. The influence of this ideologically-driven organisation (and possibly other similar organisations) on the Home Office consultation document and its associated exercise is nothing less than an assault on democracy, as well as already abused men.
In our view, it is an egregious failure of the Home Office not to have invited a wide range of researchers to contribute to the consultation exercise, given that it is known that the feminist ‘male coercion theory’ of domestic violence (also known as the ‘Duluth Model’) is flatly contradicted by a substantial body of evidence, most recently by a study at the University of Cumbria.[iv]
Martin Fiebert has been a psychology professor at California State University since 1978. In 2013 he published References examining assaults by women on their spouses or male partners: an updated annotated bibliography.[v] The full Abstract:
‘This annotated bibliography describes 343 scholarly investigations (270 empirical studies and 73 reviews) demonstrating that women are as physically aggressive as men (or more) in their relationships with their spouses or opposite-sex partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 440,850 people.’ [Our emphasis]
Appendix B of this document outlines details of some of the studies covered by the Fiebert review.
In 2013 the journal Partner Abuse published an account of the ‘Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project’ (PASK),[vi, vii] the most comprehensive review of domestic violence research literature ever conducted. 42 scholars at 20 universities and research centres conducted this unparalleled three-year research project. John Hamel, PASK Director, said:
‘The purpose of this project is to bring together, in a rigorously evidence-based, transparent and methodical manner, existing knowledge about partner abuse, with reliable, up-to-date research that can easily be accessed by anyone. PASK is grounded in the premise that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but not to their own facts; that these facts should be available to everyone, and that domestic violence intervention and policy ought to be based upon these facts rather than ideology and special interests’. [Our emphasis]
The headline finding of the review was that:
‘Women perpetrate physical and emotional abuse, as well as engage in controlling behaviours, at comparable rates to men’.
This report is part of our submission to the consultation process, along with the aforementioned letter to Theresa May. It outlines irrefutable evidence about the level of partner violence suffered by men and women, and details the anti-male bias of public bodies and key politicians, most notably:
Crown Prosecution Service
Theresa May, Home Secretary
Yvette Cooper, Shadow Home Secretary
Crown Prosecution Service
Ministry of Justice
Equalities & Human Rights Commission
The institutional anti-male bias of public bodies results in virtually no recognition of the suffering of male victims of partner violence, and leads to a corresponding lack of concern or support for them.
94% of British men who are being abused by partners are being abused by female partners. On behalf of these men, we present this body of evidence to the Home Secretary, and ask her for a meeting at the earliest opportunity. In the meantime, we’ll be posting a link to this document on our party’s website.[viii]
Justice for men & boys
(and the women who love them)
i Home Office consultation
ii Our public challenge of Theresa May
iii Our public challenge of Polly Neate, CEO, Women’s Aid
iv University of Cumbria study on the male coercion theory of intimate partner violence
v Women are as physically aggressive as men, or more aggressive, towards intimate partner
vi PASK report
vii Key findings of the PASK report
viii J4MB website