RECENT NEWS ARTICLES

This page contains a selection of recent news articles and commentary about male victims of violence and abuse plus related issues. These articles are presented as a community service, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the One in Three Campaign.

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Friday
Oct152010

Scottish police record record number of male victims of domestic abuse: AMIS (Abused Men In Scotland) is launched to provide support for male victims

A new Scottish charity, AMIS, is formally launched today (Friday 15 October 2010) to raise awareness of the number of men in Scotland on the receiving end of domestic abuse and draw attention to the lack of services designed to help them.

AMIS today publishes statistics from the 8 Scottish police forces that show an increase of around 9.4% in the number of incidents that they recorded as domestic abuse or violence with a man as the victim in 2009-10 compared to 2008-9. The statistics also reveal a reduction of 6.1% in the number of incidents recorded with a woman as victim compared to 2008-9.

Within the acknowledged limitations of police statistics* one in six of recorded victims was male yet the reality remains that after 10 years of the Scottish Parliament there are virtually no support services in Scotland designed to help men and their children affected by domestic abuse or violence.

Co-founder of AMIS, Alison Waugh, says, “Unfortunately there is still a culture of denial among many politicians and providers of services who do not want to acknowledge the evidence in front of their eyes that thousands of men every year in Scotland are victims of domestic abuse. They are abused first by their partner or ex partner and then again by the public narrative that does not want to know about the damage they and their children experience.”

The Scottish Government publishes its domestic abuse statistics in November each year. Through FOI enquiries AMIS has established that for the 10th year in a row the number of male victims recorded by police has risen substantially. Six of the eight forces (Central, Fife, Grampian, Strathclyde, Lothian and Borders and Tayside) recorded an increase in male victims. Dumfries and Galloway and Northern recorded a fall in both male and female victims.

Seven of the eight forces recorded a fall in the number of female victims, the exception being Tayside.

Strathclyde recorded the most dramatic change in the balance of reports with an 8.3% increase in the number of men recorded as victims (4,685 from 4,324 in 2008-9) and a 9.9% drop in the number of females recorded as victims (19,840 from 22,019 in 2008-9). Both figures include heterosexual and same sex relationships.The biggest percentage increase in the number of male victims recorded was in Fife – up 23.1% (580 in 2009-10 from 471 in 2008-9).

Co-founder of AMIS, Jackie Walls says, “The statistics don't lie. Some people will say it’s because more men are coming forward to report. Others, that more women are being violent and abusive. Others, that public awareness of the reality out there is running ahead of the politicians. No one really knows. Whatever lies behind the figures we know that many public services look the other way when it comes to men who suffer domestic abuse. We have had enough of that one-sided approach.”

AMIS has been funded by the National Lottery Awards for All Scotland fund to establish an office in Dunfermline and a national telephone helpline that will be live in the evenings and weekends for men and their families. The helpline hours have been arranged to cover some of the time when the London-based Men's Advice Line, funded by the Scottish Government since April 2010, is closed. The AMIS helpline will be staffed by volunteers.

AMIS will also offer awareness training to organisations that have contact with victims and will seek to work in collaboration with other agencies that wish to develop support services for men on the receiving end of abuse and their children. AMIS will take an inclusive approach to male victims of domestic abuse – including female partners and ex partners and same sex partners and ex partners.

AMIS evolved from the petition lodged by Alison Waugh and Jackie Walls at the Scottish Parliament Public Petitions Committee in December 2009. The petition was supported by over 400 signatories and is still live at Holyrood. The petition can be found at:

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/petitions/docs/PE1307.htm

AMIS co-founder, Jackie Walls says, “It has been a long road already for us to get this far and we are grateful for the Awards For All funding that is allowing us to make a modest start to the enormous task ahead of us. It’s a small beginning but it is a beginning.”

* The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey: Partner Abuse research published by the Scottish Government in December 2009 indicated that police became aware of 35% of incidents of domestic abuse experienced by women in the preceding 12 months but only 8% of the incidents experienced by men.

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Thursday
Oct142010

Domestic Violence 101: Understand the Truth, Stop the Abuse: Male victims (USA)

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. To help me clear up common misconceptions about domestic violence against men, Philip Cook, author of Abused Men-The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence (Praeger) and Policy Adviser for Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (S.A.V.E.) has generously agreed to answer a few questions.

How common is domestic violence against men?

The National Violence Against Women Survey funded by the Centers For Disease Control and the Justice Department declared that 36% of victims are men (1.8 million women, 885,000 men-1998). On the other hand, more than 200 peer-reviewed published surveys and analysis more closely resembles the reality that law enforcement officers actually experience: 50% of the time it is a case of mutual combat, 25% of the time only the woman is violent, 25% of the time only the man is.

Even if however, only police arrest rates are tallied, a spot check of major city arrest rates by myself and another by the New York Times, finds that arrests of women for domestic violence now constitute an average slightly greater than 20%. Still, we find that many domestic violence advocate officials and organizations and even District Attorney offices declare the truth of a 5% or 15% male victim rate, even when their own city's police arrest rate of women for this crime is greater than that.

What got you interested in the subject of abused men?

I am a journalist, with more than twenty years of daily news broadcasts and writing and therefore am interested in any issue that has not been widely covered by others and that has a significant impact on a large number of people. This issue fits that definition of news and it is also controversial as well as affecting a substantial segment of public policy. I realized that it was best explored in a full length book.

I came across a listing of research on the topic and realized it was significant, but not widely known by the public or the news media. Researcher Murray Straus, Ph.D., was most helpful in many ways as was R.L. McNeely, Ph.D., and many others. Eventually, the book was accepted by a publisher. It is fairly rare in publishing to have a second edition published, but that has occurred (2009). The first edition was published in 1997. The second edition contains updated research and details reaction and changes since the first edition.

What surprised you the most while researching for the book?

Although the research reveals that it was a more significant problem than many would believe, that was not the most surprising aspect. The research in effect, only supports logic and common sense, and mirrors what many in law enforcement told me is the reality they face. That this is contrary to the established wisdom of many advocacy groups and service providers as well as gender-feminist (as opposed to equity-feminist) ideology was also not surprising. What was surprising is how easy it was to find abused men to interview and how readily they came forward or were eager to do so. It is not that abused men won't talk about their experience-it is that no one asks.

How has the book been received?

I devoted an entire chapter to this very subject in Abused Men-The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence, "Resistance and Acceptance-The Challenge to Understanding," as well as addressing needed current reforms in the final chapter, so it is difficult to summarize. It was interesting to explore in the first edition and even more interesting to gage the reaction ten years later in the second edition.

A book is strange animal I've discovered, and the impact is often not direct and cannot only be measured by sales. Certainly, I've been pleased by the positive reviews from many experts in the field of intimate partner violence, as well as the general news media and national columnists. I've been honored to share author credit with experts in scholarly journals and books, as well as being referenced.

The general news media reaction has been very positive-more for when the first edition came out-because the whole idea was so new-but I still get fairly frequent calls without trying hard. There was certainly wide-spread coverage in the national news wires, TV, radio and newspapers and a few magazines. More importantly, many groups have been formed that did not exist before and many individuals have embraced the issue, and are doing wonderful work. But, much remains to be done.

What do you think can be done to encourage more abused men to come forward?

Find them and ask them. It is often posited to me by reporters and producers that men are 'naturally' more reluctant to come forward. I disagree. No abused woman I've ever met (and other women who have worked with them agree), was ready to "come out" in a public way in the midst of the crime or its immediate aftermath. It is probably not a healthy thing to do for them in any case at that point. It takes time and healing recovery before a relatively few women are ready to transform their experience into a desire to help others. The same is true for men.

How can we improve domestic violence policy to address both male and female victims?

There should be some new questions about intimate partner violence and our public policies. Here are just a few of these new questions:

Does it really matter if men or women are in the minority or the majority? Do not all people deserve equal services and equal access to help, social services, law enforcement, and legal remedies? Since the majority of intimate partner violence involves mutual combat should not our approach to intervention strategies acknowledge this reality and devise methods to deal with it?

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Friday
Oct082010

New national telephone counselling service 1800 RESPECT launched

From today Australians who have experienced – or are at risk of – physical or sexual violence will have access to a new national telephone counselling service, with the launch of 1800 RESPECT, (1800 737 732).

Rather than just acting as a referral service, qualified counsellors from the NSW Rape Crisis Centre will deliver professional, specialist counselling services on a free and confidential basis 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Those, especially in rural and remote areas, who haven’t had ready access to this level of professional counselling before can now receive both instant advice and ongoing support and assistance.

Launched today as a vital telephone service the service will be expanded over coming months to utilise technology and recognise newer forms of communication with confidential on-line services giving women more options about the way that they seek support.

This service will meet the needs of people with disabilities, indigenous Australians, young people, and callers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The new counselling service will provide support for men, in addition to the additional funding the Government has also committed to Mensline to improve counselling services for male victims.

If you are at risk of or have experienced physical or sexual violence, you can call the free 24 hr national counselling service on 1800 RESPECT, (1800 737 732).

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Wednesday
Sep292010

Domestic abuse on "Teen Mom," again (USA)

Amber punches, slaps and kicks the father of her baby. Why are we so much more tolerant 0f female-on-male violence?

Last night's episode of MTV's "Teen Mom" featured a textbook case of domestic violence -- but not the kind we're actually used to seeing or hearing about. This was a case of female-on-male violence: Amber punches, slaps and kicks Gary, the father of her child. There is name-calling and intimidation, and for much of it daughter Leah is right there, sometimes literally in the middle of the fight.

These scenes are as predictable as they are disturbing: Amber choked and slapped Gary on the last season of the show. At the time, some questioned whether there was a double standard at play since the network aired Amber's attack but censored footage of "Jersey Shore's" Snooki being punched by a guy in a bar (after catching heat for running uncensored footage in a preview for the episode). This time around, MTV made sure to take the issue seriously, peppering domestic violence PSAs throughout the episode and even continuing the conversation online with a special interview with the couple about their volatile relationship followed by an analysis by a domestic violence expert.

That's great, really, but I can't help wondering what the public reaction would be if the direction of the violence in their relationship was reversed. It's hard to imagine comparable male-on-female violence continuing to air, season after season, without major outcry or intervention.

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Sunday
Sep262010

Campaign hit by false stats

A domestic violence campaign has been tarnished with twisted crime statistics and a critical Ombudsman's report, amid claims State Minister Gail Gago's Office for Women has been hijacked by "feminists pushing a political agenda".

Premier Mike Rann has been asked to shift the Don't Cross the Line domestic violence campaign from Ms Gago's portfolio to the Attorney General's Department, so the campaign takes into account violence in the home against men and children as well as women.

Ms Gago has confirmed there were "transcribing errors" in the Don't Cross the Line campaign, and the data was not handled with due diligence. Nor was the false information corrected after it was challenged.

Ms Gago declined to say if anyone in her office had been disciplined.

The statistics inflated instances of domestic violence against women, wrongly saying, for example, that 95 per cent of domestic violence involved a male perpetrator and a female victim. All violence against women was also referred to as domestic violence.

There were seven more incorrect facts, according to the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC). The organisation Men's Health Australia complained to SA Ombudsman Richard Bingham after the Office For Women (OFW) refused to correct the statistics when contacted almost a year ago. The Ombudsman upheld the complaint.

Mr Bingham concluded the OFW "originally published some false and/or misleading information on the Don't Cross the Line website".

"My opinion is that this was unreasonable and wrong administrative action," he found.

"My view is that OFW failed to correct information on the website once the possible errors were brought to its attention (and) failed to act with reasonable diligence and speed once possible errors were brought to its attention."

Greg Andresen, of Men's Health Australia, wrote to Mr Rann this month requesting the campaign be moved to the Attorney-General's Department but said he was yet to receive a reply.

"They replaced the original misleading statistics with a page that only talks about violence against women by men - they are still portraying relationship violence as something that men do to women alone," Mr Andresen said.

"We are fully supportive of all attempts to reduce violence against women but this campaign infers that only women are victims.

"We feel they are feminists pushing a political agenda."

Ms Gago said "domestic violence campaign is not a competition between men and women".

"It should be noted that SA recently passed new domestic abuse legislation which is gender-neutral," she said. A research study released this year by Perth's Edith Cowan University found male victims of partner abuse were reluctant to seek help because of fears they would not be believed or instead blamed.

For help with domestic violence issues, ring Domestic Violence Helpline, ph 1800 800 098.

BRAD CROUCH

26 September 2010

Sunday Mail, South Australia, Page 22

Copyright 2010 News Ltd. All Rights Reserved

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