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The UK Statistics Authority has supported a complaint by the Men and Boys Coalition over the misleading use of the phrase “overwhelming majority” to refer to the proportion of female victims of domestic abuse.
The UK Statistics Authority oversees the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the government body responsible for collation and publication of statistical data within the UK.
Minister for Women exaggerating
The comments were made by Victoria Atkins MP, the Minister for Women, in a debate in the UK Parliament, when the proposed Domestic Abuse Bill was announced on the floor of the House of Commons.
In the debate on 16 July 2019, the Minister stated:
“I am grateful to my right hon. Friend, because part of the purpose of the Bill is to raise awareness and to make the point that men can be victims of domestic abuse as well, but the overwhelming majority of victims are female, and that starts from the very beginning, so we need to teach boys and girls what to expect from healthy relationships. That is precisely why relationship education in schools is such a vital part of our programme.”
The Men and Boys Coalition wrote to the UK Statistics Authority stating it was incorrect and unjustified for the Government to use the term “overwhelming” given that two in three victims of domestic abuse are female (and therefore one in three are male).
The Coalition’s letter stated:
Given that one in three victims of male which was mentioned throughout by the Minister (1.3 million are female and 695,000 are male) in Parliament and also was used throughout the Government consultation and related policy papers, we contend that this does not equate to the fair or correct usage of the term ‘overwhelming’.
In their response, The UK Statistics Authority stated: “The phrase ‘overwhelming majority’ is a subjective statement. However, it may imply that a larger proportion of victims are female than the statistics show.”
The term ‘overwhelming majority’ when referring to female victims of domestic violence is a long-term practice of the feminist domestic violence industry. It can even be found being defended heavily in Wikipedia. The inaccurate and incorrect usage compounds the stigma for male victims of domestic abuse, who often feel their plight is not taken seriously and that their experience is an isolated one-off instance.
There are fewer than 100 beds in 20 refuges or safe houses for male victims in the UK, compared with 7,500 for women.Somerset Live, June 2017
More twisted tales
Of the male victims, the Minister also stated “…we believe … that the majority of perpetrators are male.” This also was complained about, since it was said in the same sentence as the figure for male victims. As the ONS have confirmed, there are no figures for the sex of the perpetrator. So just who is this “we” that believe such obvious nonsense that flies in the face of all other reports?
The Coalition complaint stated:
“It is of great concern that the Minister presents figures from the ONS report and then makes a statement which has no basis whatsoever in ONS statistics and which we believe, from the best available evidence, to be categorically and wholly incorrect.”
“Given the relatively low numbers of men in same-sex relationships (or former same-sex relationships), the Government’s claim could only be true if it were alleging that male same-sex relationships are markedly more violent and abusive than heterosexual relationships, by many orders of magnitude. This has a range of serious societal and public policy implications, especially for the LGBT+ community and therefore it is incumbent on the Government to have clear and compelling evidence before making such a claim.”
Figures from a range of sources, including from the ONS themselves, show that between only 10-13% of male victims of domestic abuse are victims solely at the hands of other men. Male homosexual relationships are among the least violent; female homosexual relationships are statistically the most violent.
However, in their response, the UK Statistics Authority stated:
“We contacted the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and they confirmed that they do not provide figures on the sex of the perpetrators of domestic abuse against men. ONS can only identify the sex of the perpetrator for partner abuse (a subset of domestic abuse) and have not published this data recently. Nevertheless, the Minister has been cautious in how this point is expressed in a way that appropriately recognises the limitations in the data.”
Given the way the Minister ran the data together, we are sure many of her less well-informed listeners (including most of the politicians) would have the wrong impression that men tended to be battered only by other men, not by women.