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Open letter from 1IN3 to Jane Gilmore, Daily Life columnist and Candice Chung, Daily Life Editor

Dear Jane and Candice,

We are writing to you to request that you correct some serious factual errors contained in your article "The 'One in Three' claim about male domestic violence victims is a myth" (April 30). We sincerely hope that Daily Life adheres to the principles of the Australian Press Council concerning accuracy and clarity.

We believe the errors to be as follows:

1. You state that the One in Three Campaign website claims the source of the 'One in Three' claim is The Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Personal Safety Survey (PSS). This is quite incorrect. If you look at the overview page on our website, you will see that we cite seventeen different authoritative sources, including the PSS, but also other community surveys, crime, police, homicide, hospital, and protection order statistics, all demonstrating that one in three victims of family violence is male. For example, the NSW Auditor General found that 34% (more than one in three) domestic and family violence incidents recorded by Police in 2010 involved male victims and 30% (almost one in three) involved female perpetrators.

2. You note correctly that the data in Table 3 of the PSS appearing to suggest that males are 33 per cent of people who have experienced an act of violence from a current partner in the last 12 months is marked with a warning that states: "Estimate has a relative standard error of 25 per cent to 50 per cent and should be used with caution." The reason for this large error is the biased sample used by the ABS for the PSS. They surveyed 13,307 fully responding females but only 3,743 fully responding males. If an equal number of males and females had been sampled, the relative error in question would have been reduced. Nevertheless, if one looks at Table 4 of the PSS, you will see that 119,600 males and 237,100 females had experienced violence from a current partner since the age of 15. There is no warning about relative standard error here. And the proportion of male victims is exactly the same as the last 12 months data: exactly one third of victims are male.

3. You refer to Table 22 about the frequency of partner violence, again stating incorrectly that "current partner violence is unreliable." You appear to have ignored the robust data on current partner violence (there is no warning about relative standard error) indicating that one third of people who reported more than one violent incident from a current partner were male (77,800 males and 154,500 females).

4. You claim that the PSS doesn't ask if respondents felt frightened or helpless or controlled. Table 32 found that more than one in three victims of partner emotional abuse were male (37.1% in the last 12 months; 36.3% since the age of 15) and Table 33 found that around half of these males experienced anxiety or fear due to the emotional abuse (46.1%).

5. You claim correctly that the ABS PSS is limited as a tool in understanding the dynamics of domestic violence. However you infer that the only people using the ABS PSS as a good benchmark of domestic and family violence are those making the 'One in Three' claim, and that this is done so deliberately "in its attempts to divert attention away from male violence". The ABS PSS is acknowledged to be the best indicator of the levels of domestic and family violence in Australia by every significant government and NGO in the sector: ANROWS, White Ribbon, Our Watch, etc. For example, ANROWS relies almost completely on ABS PSS data for it's Fact Sheet on Key Statistics on Violence Against Women. If the data can be legitimately used by these respected organisations, it can also be used by advocates for male victims of family violence.

6. You claim that we, as a society, aren't ignoring the needs of male victims. The NSW Government Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Social Issues report on domestic violence trends and issues in NSW found that "Male victims have been much less visible and able to access supports than should be the case". It further recognised "the gap in services for male victims and [encouraged] the government to examine how services can most appropriately be provided to male victims of domestic violence".

We hope you are able to correct these errors and misrepresentations as a matter of urgency.

Yours sincerely,

Greg Andresen
Senior Researcher
One in Three Campaign

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Reader Comments (9)

Well done, Greg. When I read Jane Gilmore's article I was appalled at its falsity. Thanks for this reasoned rebuttal.

Men are also significantly affected by sexual abuse, most commonly from women. Anyone interested in the subject can look to feminist Hanna Rosin's "When Men Are Raped," which acknowledges men are sexually assaulted by women about 2/3 as often as the reverse.

May 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJack Strawb

I know it is sometime necessary, but the polite, almost apologetic tone of your response is something I think needs to change. The women know they were lying, there was no misunderstanding or oversight. Feminists have been lying for years and it is time to call them out. Nevertheless thanks so much for your support of men and boys and your efforts to present the truth to an apathetic, ignorant, manipulated public.

May 2, 2015 | Unregistered Commentermark

Great rebuttal - well done!

May 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJo

Well done, although underreporting of family violence against men is a real issue here. Male being victim is still stigmatised and highly unlikely to come out. Especially if the violence is not very visible physical one, but all sorts of emotional; verbal aggression, denial of food, money, sleep and sex and so on, - all this stuff is taken for granted as a perfectly legitimate weapon to use by wives against their husbands at any time for any slightest reason.

Violence against children perpetuated by mothers, grandmothers and other females would be another logical step into the research of circle of family violence. Here lies the root of so many evils in our society, it would be a real Pandora box to open.

May 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterIgor Rogov

In the report from the NSW Auditor General it is recognised that 78% of men are offenders in any domestic violence situation, regardless of the whether the victim was male or female.
I acknowledge that under-reporting of domestic violence in female on male situations may occur, but from the overwhelming evidence the One in Three campaign has cited, males are majority perpetrators of domestic violence.
Of course this should not discount the assistance or recognition received by victims of both genders. However, it does point to systematic and gendered violence caused by underlying social values, that men should dominate and control women, that women should be submissive. Both genders are harmed by the prevalence of these attitudes.
The solution to domestic violence is not a case of men v women, men v everyone, or women v everyone. It is about recognising the underlying causes of domestic violence, preventing it happening in the first place by placing impetus on the perpetrator not the victim. Overwhelmingly, the perpetrator is male.

May 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterStopDV

Was there ever a response back from the paper?

May 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLeonard Anderson

Yes, Leonard. The editor of Daily Life wrote back to us stating they would not be offering a correction. The matter is now with the Press Council.

You're a godsend, Greg.

Keep up the great work. You're making a difference.

May 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRob Anderson

Not bad, but you haven't addressed the crux of the SMH article, which is that a more fair and holistic approach to statistics across the board reduces the number of male victims of abuse to 1 in 5.

Also you misspelled "its" in point 5.

December 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLee

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