Men mostly to blame for domestic abuse is a totally discredited theory

IN your editorial (May 17) you commented on the criticisms by some women’s groups of the new body being set up by the Government to deal with domestic violence.

You state: “Since women are the main victims of domestic assault, although a small proportion of men are also subjected to assault, there is an onus on the administration to listen to what they have to say”.

The theory that domestic violence consists wholly or predominantly of men abusing women has been totally discredited.

Every piece of research into the experiences of men and women as both victims and perpetrators of domestic violence has come to the same conclusion — that men and women are victims and perpetrators in roughly equal numbers.

The research includes work carried out by the National Crime Council (NCC), in association with the ESRI, which found the following in relation to gender prevalence:

15% of women and 6% of men suffer severe domestic abuse

29% of women and 26% of men suffer domestic abuse when all types of abuse are combined

13% of women and 13% of men suffer physical abuse

29% of women, but only 5% of men, report to the gardaí.

According to the Departments of Health and Justice, which have responsibilities in this area, the NCC study is the definitive piece of research on domestic violence in this country.

As regards supports for victims, the Government provides in excess of €20 million for services for female victims and approximately 0.75% of this amount for services for male victims.

This is sexist inequality that is indefensible and inexplicable on any grounds other than moral and political cowardice. It is also a fact that representatives of male victims are excluded from existing State-funded bodies dealing with domestic violence.

While we haven’t been given any information on the new body proposed by the Government, we note that it was announced as part of their Strategy on Women and the statements from women’s groups mentioned in your report equate domestic violence with violence against women. Perhaps the continued exclusion of representatives of male victims is the real agenda of these groups.

Frank McGlynn

Amen

St Anne’s Resource Centre

Railway Street

Navan

Co Meath

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