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ManKind Initiative calls on NICE to ensure quality standards are applied to male victims

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence produced a consultation on quality standards in the health service with regard to domestic abuse.

The ManKind Initiative’s response focussed on ensuring that  male victims were identified as an under-represented group  and therefore should be considered as a group under the Equality and Diversity sections of the standards.

The response is here: ManKind Submission

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ManKind Initiative gives evidence to the Welsh Assembly

Earlier this month, the charity’s Chairman gave evidence to the The Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee who are looking at the Welsh Government’s proposed Gender-based Violence, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill.

The charity made a ManKind Initiative Consultation Response and a further ManKind Initiative Consultation Response (Follow Up) submission following the hearing.

The evidence session can be seen here ( start at 1 hr  32 mins 55 secs) and also the transcript can be seen here (start at paragraph 215).

The substantive points made were:

 

  • To focus on female victims of these crimes, and not all victims, would relegate men (in heterosexual and same-sex relationships) and their sons and daughters to continuing to be second class victims.

 

  • This would have a catastrophic effect on the provision of services through new commissioning/existing delivery, the creation of new services and also the encouragement of men to come forward. This would be because the application of the Law would be female-centric based on gender rather than victim/individual-centric based on need.

 

  • One of the challenges he put was that c90% of men are homeless but no one would rightly dream of renaming the Welsh Homelessness Act 2002, the Male Homelessness Act 2002, so why would the assembly insert the word ‘Women’ into an Act where  the ratio of people suffering is c60-65% women and 35/40% men (I stuck to Home Office figures)?. This gained no traction for unknown or rational reasons.

 

We disagreed with screening for helplines but expected the police, refuge/safe houses and other front-line staff to do so.

Charity issues Welsh Assembly consultation response to ensure the voice of male victims in Wales are heard

The Welsh Government have created A Gender-based Violence, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill and the Welsh Assembly are currently consulting on it – the details and process can be found here. The  Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee i the Welsh Assembly have been tasked with reviewing the Bill and set out a public consultation.

We submitted a ManKind Initiative Consultation Response response and are appearing before the committee on October 2014.

The charity is supportive of the Welsh Government’s Gender-based Violence, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill in principle and recognises that it is a step forward in ensuring the victims of these crimes receive the protection and support they need.

However, the charity believes there are a number of issues that will need to be addressed to ensure that in Wales, all victims of these crimes receive the protection and support they need. A law that supports victims of domestic abuse is supported, but often from the charity’s experience, the application of law in terms of the provision of services for male victims, is lacking.

These issues, include:

(i) recognising and accepting that domestic abuse is not a gender-based crime. It is therefore vital that the part of the bill’s title entitled “Gender-based Violence” is recognised and interpreted as being separate to “domestic abuse”. An answer could be to rename the Bill on an alphabetical basis: Domestic Abuse, Gender-based Violence and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill.

 

(ii)  if forced marriage and honour-based violence are viewed as being gender-based crimes, then how will male victims of these crimes be equally recognised and supported as female victims of these crimes?

 

(iii) ensuring national and local strategies fully recognise male victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence and that the strategies explicitly address the needs of male victims. This also includes service commissioning, staff training and awareness raising.

ManKind congratulates Suffolk PCC for male victim funding

The ManKind Initiative has sent a letter (Mr Tim Passmore (3 Aug 14)  to Mr Tim Passmore, the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner for providing a grant for male services in the county and also to urge him to ensure that the provider of his new county-wide domestic abuse service includes male victims.

Male victims can also take part in his, and University campus Suffolk’s research project.

 

 

 

Is Clare’s Law for male victims?

By Ian McNicholl – domestic abuse survivor and Hon  Patron of the ManKind Initiative

It transpires that Clare’s Law has most recently been rolled out across England and Wales (BBC coverage). Consequently, we can all relax safe in the knowledge that potential victims of domestic abuse can be offered an escape route before they are groomed into “victim” status. “Hoorah, Hoorah!”

You may feel that as a consequence of the above the following question is extremely relevant: “Does Clare’s Law afford the same choices to all potential victims of Domestic Abuse?”  I politely suggest that Clare’s Law will not provide equality of access.

There is no doubt in my mind that Clare’s Law will enhance the range of services to potential female victims and this is indeed most welcome.  However, this Law is yet another example of services for both potential and actual male victims of domestic abuse, (yes, they do actually exist!) not been considered within the arena of awareness therefore services afforded to male victims can only stagnate and consequently fall behind those services afforded to female victims.  In today’s modern society, this is simply unacceptable.

Well, it’s only a name” I hear you cry.  Should this be the case then I propose a name change to “Ian’s Law” with immediate effect secure in the knowledge that this will make no difference whatsoever to the number of potential female victims seeking to take advantage of the law.  Changing the name of the law to a male influenced prefix would be the equivalent of lighting the blue touch paper on Bonfire Night prior to reading the safety Instructions.  The sensible solution would be to change the name of Law to a prefix used by both females and males alike, “in memory of Clare Wood.”

The key message here is one of “signposting” and Clare’s Law will do very little at best, and at worst absolutely nothing to encourage potential male victims to ask the relevant questions, to seek reassurance and therefore make the same informed choices afforded to potential female victims.  The clue is in the title!  A further point for your consideration is to ask yourself if you would be equally comfortable if there was a “Law” that enhances awareness, and therefore prioritises support based on “Ethnic Origin,” “Sexual Orientation” or “Age.”

Whilst I am in no position to empathise with a parent who has had to lay their child to rest, as a male survivor of domestic abuse, and not domestic violence, I am in a position to understand the need for enhanced levels of awareness as this will almost certainly, positively influence “Risk.”  However, awareness and risk remain gender neutral whilst the mind of a perpetrator is not gender specific.

I have met and spoken directly with many survivors of domestic abuse and there is not one survivor who would wish to see support prioritised and therefore consequently denied based on “Gender.”  Services must be all engaging and fully inclusive with “Risk” and “Need” the overriding criteria.  Furthermore, there is an obligation on Service Providers to provide support on a proportionate basis.

It will be interesting to see what proportion of approaches to individual police authorities are made on behalf of or directly from potential male victims?  However, my message is a simple one and one that can apply to any potential victim of domestic abuse:

Should your instinct tell you to make an approach to the Police with regard to your current partner, then you should take action to ensure your own safety today rather than tomorrow.  Tomorrow may be one day too late”

It will be most interesting to see how Clare’s Law unfolds.  However, I remain deeply concerned that this recent development only reinforces the division that exists within the arena of domestic abuse service provision when all should be ready to respond to a cry for help.  Ignore the first cry and it may be the last cry.

Ian McNicholl – doemstic abuse survivor

Why does Minister of State, Norman Baker MP, deliberately choose to ignore male victims of domestic abuse

One the three key barriers that male victims face is institutional discrimination and discrimination by omission within the sociopolitical structure of the UK especially the statutory sector, albeit things are improving as shown by the NICE guidance. The other two barriers being lack of societal recognition and maleness.

A classic case of the first mentioned barrier can be seen in this debate in the House of Commons on Monday.

Robert Halfon MP initiated a debate about domestic abuse in his constituency and a colleague of his, Gareth Johnson MP, also supported. Both mentioned male and female victims.

In the response by Norman Baker, The Minister of State, Home Office, he did not mention men once.

He mentioned 1.2 million women are victims of domestic abuse per year but did not mention that 700, 000 men were also victims  every year. He also mentioned that 76 women died at the hands of their partner but again no mention of the 15 men. Even though as our 25 Key Facts_Feb 2014 (final) show, the data for men and women are in the same report, on the same page and in the same table.

He would of course been reading from a briefing note prepared by the Home Office civil servants so whoever prepared the briefing deliberately chose to ignore male victims and presumed that Robert Halfon was only going to talk about female victims.

Of course, Normal Baker could have challenged this or thought about it during the debate but he chose not to.

How can male victims receive the same recognition as female victims when the government minister, and his civil servants, responsible for this policy area deliberately ignore their very existence?

Equal recognition at last for male victims in new guidance

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence issued new guidance this week (http://guidance.nice.org.uk/PH50). We and Broken Rainbow sat on the Programme Development Group which not only in itself was a significant development and recognition of male victims – it also helped to ensure the guidance fully covered the issue off. At some stage we will undertake an analysis of what it means for men and also organisations supporting them. The quote we gave to the media was:

“The full recognition of male victims in these welcome guidelines is a crucial landmark in the way we tackle domestic abuse in this country. The fact it clearly sets out the responsibilities that organisations such as local authorities and the NHS have in recognising and supporting male  victims is a huge leap forward. No longer should the hundreds of thousands of men who suffer every year find there is no support for them in their local community.”

It was heartening to see that NICE also gave prominence to the figures about men. We hope it is a real wake up call to the health sector, police and councils to ensure their staff are trained to support and recognise male victims juts as they are female victims. Only then can we move to a country where all victims receive the support and recognition based on individual need and not gender – which still remains the predominant and misguided ideology underpinning much in the domestic abuse sector.

ManKind Initiative launches updated 25 Key Facts on male victims

The Office for National Statistics has recently published its updated  2012/13 report and datasets on the British Crime Survey which highlights a range of statistics on domestic abuse amongst a host of other important data.

The ManKind Initiative has collated these and a number of other key statistics into one 25 Key Facts_Feb 2014 (final)

Please feel free to download and circulate.

Some key facts are:

  • 38% of domestic abuse victims are male: for every five victims, three will be female, two will be male
  • 4.4% of men were estimated to have experienced domestic abuse in the last year, equivalent to an estimated 720,000 male victims
  • 1% of men and 1.4% of women were victims of severe force at the hands of their partner during 2012/13.
  • More married men (1.5%) and cohabitating men (4.0%) suffered from partner abuse in 2012/13 than married women (1.3%) and cohabitating women (3.4%)
  • Male victims (29%) are nearly twice as likely than women (17%) to not tell anyone about the partner abuse. Only 10% of male victims will tell the police (27% women), only 22% will tell a person in an official position (38% women) and only 10% (15% women) will tell a health professional.