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10 Things You Need to Know Before You Make Assumptions About Gender and Domestic Violence

26/06/2014 16:13 BST | Updated 26/08/2014 10:59 BST

1. The government defines domestic violence as any incident, or pattern of incidents, of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence, or abuse, between those aged 16 or over, who are, or have been, intimate partners, or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to damage that is psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional

2. More women than men experience domestic violence, but the gap is not as wide as you might think. In the 2011/12 Crime Survey for England and Wales, 1.2 million (7%) women and 800,000 (5%) men reported having experienced any type of domestic abuse in the last year. This means that for every five victims of domestic violence, three will be female and two will be male.

3. Between 2012 and 2013, 1% of men and 1.4% of women were victims of severe force at the hands of their partner.

4. Over 260 organisations with around 4,000 spaces offer safe house provision to female victims of domestic violence. Only 12 organsiations offer provision to men, but of the 86 spaces that might be made available, only 25 are specifically dedicated to male victims of domestic violence.

5. The mandate to be tough and strong can prevent men communicating vulnerability and from seeking informal or professional help. Consequently only 10% of male victims of domestic violence tell the police, compared to 27% of female victims. Regardless of gender, only 27% of all partner abuse cases reported to the police go to court.

6. The number of women convicted of perpetrating domestic abuse more than quadrupled between 2004 and 2012 - peaking at 3,968 in 2010/11. This is thought to be aggravated by the fact that women are drinking more alcohol than they used to.

7. A meta-analysis of 83 studies into domestic violence by Professor John Archer of the University of Central Lancashire found that women are as likely to use domestic violence as men, but women are twice as likely as men to be injured or killed during a domestic assault.

8. A 1997 Home Office report, 'Understanding the Sentencing of Women', suggests that the law is more likely to define women as "troubled" and worthy of sympathy, and men as "troublesome" and deserving of punishment. This may explain why 25% of all men who report domestic abuse to the police in the UK are arrested as perpetrators.

9. In an experiment by the ManKind Initiative, a charity which supports male domestic abuse, a male actor "attacks" his girlfriend in front of onlookers. They immediately rush to help his girlfriend threatening to call the police. When the roles are reversed and the woman assaults the male, no one tries to help. In fact onlookers seem openly amused by the incident.

10. Roughly 100 women are killed every year by a partner or ex-partner. As a comparison, in 2010, 21 men died from domestic abuse in England and Wales.

Advice Lines for anyone experiencing domestic abuse

National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247

Men's Advice Line: 0808 801 0327

ManKind 01823 334244

Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 80 10 800

Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 027 1234

Northern Ireland Women's Aid 24-hour Domestic Violence Helpline: 0800 917 1414

Broken Rainbow Helpline (for LGBT people): 0300 999 5428

References

ONS BCS Focus on Violent Crime and Sexual Offences 2012/13

Addis, M. & Mahalik, J. (2003). Men, masculinity, and the contexts of help seeking. American Psychologist, Vol. 58 Issue 1, p5-14.

Archer, John., "Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners: A meta-analytic review," Aggression and Violent Behavior (7) 2002, 313-351

Hedderman, C. and Gelsthorpe, L. (eds) (1997) Understanding the Sentencing of Women. Home Office Research Study. London:HMSO.

The ManKind Initiative Domestic Abuse Advert https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3PgH86OyEM