Recession, austerity and domestic violence: a case unproven


SERIES: FROM THE HETPAT ARCHIVES

Note 15/07/13.  In Saturday’s Guardian, Deborah Orr mused on two important questions around domestic violence. The first was the familiar worry as to whether the current economic crisis has sparked an upturn in intimate partner abuse. She hangs her argument around figures from Citizens’ Advice Bureaux showing a large increase in clients requiring help with the problem.

It is very likely that this is a mistake, and falls into the same trap that caught Suzanne Moore last year, discussed below . When a whole bunch of DV services close across the country, it is inevitable that people in need of help will turn to whatever service is left. It is *possible* that the rise in CAB cases is entirely accounted for by that. We would really need to know how many people in total have been turned away from other services (not just Women’s Aid and Refuge, but the entire range of council run-helplines, youth services, community health services etc, all of which will deal with DV, and all of which have been slashed.

There’s another problem with those CAB stats which is that CAB typically see people with a range of complex problems – housing, debt etc. They did not say that the numbers they quoted were people who contacted them about DV as their primary or only problem. As the recession etc gets worse, more ppl will see CAB anyway (it would be interesting to know how much their entire caseload went up over the same period) and then a lot of them, in the course of the interview, will reveal that not only are they facing homelessness, debt collectors etc, but they are also in an abusive relationship.

My hunch is still that we will see a slight rise in DV figures from BCS / CSEW within the next year or two, because these things tend to be cumulative and have a bit of a lag before they start to turn up in the figures. But at the moment the most we can say is that there is no evidence yet of such a rise. That said, we would expect frontline services to be the first to pick up on any such trend.

As a general point, my own best guess is that short term crises and economic stresses can certainly trigger violent incidents – either directly, or by boosting problematic use of alcohol / stimulants etc which has the secondary effect. But that’s just switching the detonator. The bomb has been laid much, much earlier, in a childhood & adolescence of exposure to violent stresses and socialisation. I do genuinely believe that people in general are less violent in all sorts of ways than they were a few decades ago, and so consequently we have far fewer violent personalities around than we did before.

On Deborah’s second point is interesting. She suggest that violence may be getting shifted from outdoors, now a near-panopticon of CCTV, and moving behind closed doors. i’m not convinced of this theory, but it prompts me to suggest that one reason convictions for both domestic abuse and sexual offences have risen sharply, even as survey evidence shows the actual incidence is in decline, may be that more evidence is now collected and stored on mobile phones, whether by victims or perpetrators. The same types of evidence have also occasionally been found to acquit those who have been wrongly accused. The panopticon is not so easily escaped!  

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First published November 29th 2012

There is a very real likelihood that economic conditions are combining with devastating cuts to services and legal aid to create heightened risk for victims of domestic violence.  It’s something that’s been worrying me and I suspect everyone else with an interest in the topic for several years now. So I’ve had my eyes open for evidence as to the impacts. The official figures for the year 2011/12 are due in January.

But a couple of weeks ago a few agency-based news sites appeared to be presenting some hard evidence.

From www.politics.co.uk

The recession is making domestic violence worse, statistics show.

The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) claimed to have found a statistical link between the economic downturn and an increase in domestic violence.

Domestic violence has increased by 17% over the period of the recession.

[snip]

In 2011, 2,174 assaults were reported each day in England and Wales – or three every two minutes.

The same statistics appeared this morning in Suzanne Moore’s column in the Guardian.

I wasn’t aware of any new releases from the ONS that could have informed these claims, so I did a bit of digging.

A helpful person at NCDV explained that the statistics had not come from them. They had released figures that their own caseload had increased by 19.6% during 2011, which is in its own right a worrying glimpse of the demands now placed on remaining services, but it offers no clue to the overall extent of domestic violence. (Most obviously, when some services are cut back or closed down, those that remain are likely to see a vastly increased demand.  Alternatively, more effective marketing or raised media profile can lead to an increase in calls and referrals for any one charity or service.)

So where does the claim of a 17% rise, equivalent to 2174 cases a day, come from? I searched on the figures and they appear to be drawn from a Daily Mirror report in July 2011, which quoted the precise same statistics in exactly the same terms. That piece was reporting a parliamentary answer given in Hansard the week before. In response to a question from Gloria de Piero MP, minister Lynne Featherstone released the most recent police reported crime figures. They cover four years, 06/07 – 09/10.

06/07                     07/08                     08/09                     09/10
671,374                 674,756                 766,047                 793,526

 

Although there was a slight rise between the first and second column, and between the third and fourth, the great proportion of the 17% jump happened in one year, between 07/08 and 08/09.

There are several things to note here. The first is that the figures stop in June 2010. So any suggestion that this is new research based on new data is clearly bogus. The second point is that while the global recession began in September 2008, most of the impacts upon the general public did not begin to be felt for months or even years after that. So while it is possible that the rise in domestic violence reports can be attributed to economic conditions, it would seem improbable.

The austerity programme of the current government, of course, did not begin until May 2010, so it has to be entirely irrelevant to these data.

Another point that will be of interest to many of those commenting on Suzanne Moore’s strictly female-focussed piece is that these numbers are total reports, not just women. (Typically police reports are about 10% male victims reporting female abusers.)

It is important to note that according to BCS, which is considered to be a much more reliable (though still far from perfect) guide to the actual incidence of violent crime, there was no rise in self-reported domestic violence in the year to 08/09.  The estimate of physical partner abuse victims (non-sexual) fell from 1,456,000 to 1,137,000 and partner sexual abuse from 541,000 to 466,000. These are big falls, not rises (in keeping with the trend of the past 15 years or so.)

You can always expect some disparity between the BCS trend and the reported crime figures, but the vast disparity in that year suggests to me that whatever was happening, it was unlikely to be a straightforward rise in the number of violent incidents. Could it have been an increased awareness? Was there some very effective public education campaign that year, or a particularly compelling soap storyline? That’s possible. Rather more likely is that there may have been changes in how police recorded their reports. Was there a change in policy as to what kinds of calls would be ‘no-crimed’? Were there any new guidelines introduced for police as to what should be classified as a domestic violence incident? I honestly do not know, but if any readers have theories, I’d be delighted to hear them.

As for the more immediate issue, I believe I can quite confidently state that there is no evidence that there has been a rise in domestic violence as a direct result of the current economic situation and austerity measures. That’s not to say such a rise hasn’t happened, in all honesty I still expect to be confronted with a grim reversal, and we may know much more in January.*

In the meantime I’m not convinced it serves anyone well to propagate outdated and misleading statistical claims.

———–

* UPDATE 15/07/13 – I’m happy to report that January has been and gone, the statistics were released, and they showed yet another slight (though not statistically significant) decline in incidence of DV and no increase in sexual offences.

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    The second point is that while the global recession began in September 2008, most of the impacts upon the general public did not begin to be felt for months or even years after that. So while it is possible that the rise in domestic violence reports can be attributed to economic conditions, it would seem improbable.

    Important quibble: recessions generally don’t really begin when the mass media say they begin — in some ways they begin much earlier, and the media (under the influence of certain business interests with short-term agendas) tend to try to whitewash things for as long as they can before they actually start using the “R word.” In 1929, for example, the October stock-market crash didn’t really mark the beginning of the Great Depression — that was just when the general public REALIZED en-masse that there was a Depression; but large sectors of the US economy had already been in a depressed state for years before that, such as farming and manufacturing. So in this more recent case, there’s still some chance that the rise in DV incidents we see is indeed due to economic circumstances.

    The austerity programme of the current government, of course, did not begin until May 2010…

    Was there any other kind of austerity or budget-cutting going on before the “current government” came in?

  2. Ally Fogg says

    recessions generally don’t really begin when the mass media say they begin — in some ways they begin much earlier, and the media (under the influence of certain business interests with short-term agendas) tend to try to whitewash things for as long as they can before they actually start using the “R word.”

    true, but the flipside of that is that often the economic effects which hit the poorer hardest (primarily unemployment) tend to lag behind other economic indicators (company profits, shares, interest rates, inflation etc) because hiring and firing employees is the easiest way for employers (whether small businesses or giant public services) to cut costs or invest surplus.

    So yes, i quite agree we can’t pinpoint a specific day when the recession began, it remains true that there has been recession or stagnation over the past 5 years or so, and there’s no evidence of a reverse in patterns of DV.

    Was there any other kind of austerity or budget-cutting going on before the “current government” came in?

    Not on the scale we’ve seen. Governments always move money into one pot and out of another, so of course tehre were cuts, but nothing like on the scale since. The last couple of years of Gordon Brown’s govt they were broadly sticking to spending plans that were in place before the crash.

    Labour were proposing an austerity programme themselves, of course, so that’s not a party political point. Had they won in 2010 there would have been a hell of a lot of cuts anyway I’m sure.

  3. says

    What do you think of the idea that radical social changes in general (as opposed to just the recesion part of said changes) might cause an increase in domestic violence? It sounds plausible to me, based on a premise that changes causes uncertainty and fear and both of those cause frustration that makes violence more likely. (And even before people started losing jobs in large numbers, there was still a lot of wrenching changes, both political and technological.) Is there a body of evidence that proves this — or is this question so overly broad and generalized as to be untestable?

  4. Maria Hughes says

    Hi Ally

    Statistics aside, I have always felt that linking DV with things like ‘the recession’ is problematic anyway. It can give the impression that DV is just an outburst of frustration or fear to specific circumstances, rather than a pattern of controlling (and not necessarily physically violent) behaviour, backed by a set of attitudes the abuser holds. It can give abusers an ‘excuse’ they will readily take, and it can lead it inappropriate measures to deal with it. As you say, crises can provide the detonator.

    And as you also say, it’s really hard to measure whether DV is ‘going up’ or ‘going down’ anyway: you can only measure what’s reported, either directly to a DV service (or police, etc.) or indirectly through the BCS or similar surveys. When I was a DV worker (Information Worker & Helpline rather than refuge or outreach worker), I lost count of the number of times I was asked whether DV was ‘on the rise’ and had to explain that it’s not that simple. Plus there are other trends afoot: for instance, we noticed that Helpline calls went up in January, and discovered that many callers were putting off doing anything about the abuse they were suffering “until after Christmas”, so as not to rock the boat with children and family. I suspect there may be other seasonal-type trends of this nature.

  5. Maria Hughes says

    Reply to Raging Bee

    Sorry, I posted before I saw your reply.

    Domestic violence is a very specific form of abuse, where one partner seeks to take control over the whole relationship: their needs, their beliefs, their comfort, their words are the only ones that matter. Whereas physical violence, or the threat of it, can be part of this, it’s not the full picture: abuse can be emotional, psychological, sexual and financial, with the abuser controlling every part of the life of their partner. Whilst there are many theories about how this comes about (especially where the gender of the abuser is concerned!), I would say most agree that it is an escalating pattern of controlling behaviour, rather than one-off reactions (however violent) to specific stressing circumstances.

    Ally, would you agree?

    Hope this helps.

  6. Ally Fogg says

    What do you think of the idea that radical social changes in general (as opposed to just the recesion part of said changes) might cause an increase in domestic violence?

    I think that’s a bit too broad to answer, because radical social change could include a stark reduction in domestic violence. Indeed I’d argue that what has happened over the past few decades with women’s economic and professional empowerment has been tantamount to radical social change.

    There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that societies which are more gender equal tend to have less violence against women (whether comparing between countries or comparing one country over different time periods)

    That might be partly a psychological thing, but is much more likely to be pragmatic – if a woman can more easily walk away from a household, has more options to get help etc, then she is less likely to tolerate violence and he is less likely to try it on.

    There’s a corollary question which is really interesting and I think as yet unanswered, which is whether the empowerment of women causes an increase in domestic violence against men. I think that’s a really interesting question in all sorts of ways, in terms of how we understand the dynamics of abuse, but I haven’t seen any really convincing evidence either way.

    Is there a body of evidence that proves this — or is this question so overly broad and generalized as to be untestable?

    One problem with DV is that there are so many bodies of – often contradictory – evidence that it can be used to show all sorts of things if you want it to.

    MariaHughes

    Great post thanks. Ben Goldacre has a running gag about answering media questions on science: “well it’s a bit more complicated than that.”

    That’s a phrase I find very useful in conversations about DV too!

  7. Maria Hughes says

    Re 6.

    Ah yes, I kind-of nicked that off Dr Ben – who, incidentally, I think would make a great Dr Who!

  8. Ally Fogg says

    Maria (5)

    And mine crossed over with yours!

    Domestic violence is a very specific form of abuse, where one partner seeks to take control over the whole relationship: their needs, their beliefs, their comfort, their words are the only ones that matter…. Ally, would you agree?

    Well it’s a bit more complicated than that

    (tee hee, couldn’t resist, sorry)

    My own position is that domestic violence is not only what you describe. I think you are describing controlling-coercive violence and abuse. That’s a common and extremely dangerous phenomenon.

    However there are other types of partner violence which are even more common and not always less dangerous – specifically situational violence and reciprocal violence, and both of those can occur without there being the controlling patterns you describe.

    I’m increasingly hearing the likes of Women’s Aid and academics like Marianne Hester and Liz Kelly making the argument that when we talk about DV we are talking about CCV, and that the other types don’t really count.

    This is a particularly convenient argument for feminist theorists as CCV (or ‘patriarchal terrorism’) appears to be much more heavily gendered than other types of violence – in other words the near symmetry that you get in surveys of violent incidents largely disappears when you look at the most dangerous persistent, controlling relationships. So if you define domestic violence in those terms, it typically looks more clearly like a pattern of male violence against women.

    But where does that leave those at risk in (by most estimates) about three quarters of violent households – the relationships where both parties shout and scream and throw things at each other, throw slaps and punches or objects at each other, with no obvious primary aggressor? Where does it leave those who are injured or terrified by partners who occasionally lose their temper and hit out violently out of frustration and anger (or just drunkenness) rather than a desire to coerce and control?

    Those issues need attention, and if we are not going to call them domestic violence, we need to call them something else.

    My preferred option is to recognise that violent relationships are complicated and messy, don’t always fit into an ideological pattern, and may need interventions, support and solutions that are tailored to the needs of those involved , rather than trying to fit everyone into an ideological mould of what it says in the textbook.

  9. Maria Hughes says

    Re. 3 & 6

    This is not to say that specific crises can’t spark *incidents* of DV. There’s always a stat or two around about how it ‘goes up’ during international football tournaments, for instance, through a combination of alcohol and frustration at one’s team. Alcohol can skew the figures as it lowers inhibitions; it can lead abusers who are not usually ‘hands-on’ to become physically violent, or the violent ones to become more seriously violent, but it doesn’t cause the abuse. Similarly, abusers can be considered to have ‘anger management’ issues, when in fact they may manage their anger/ frustration perfectly well when they’re *not* dealing with their abused partner.

    That’s why it’s so problematic to consider individual acts of violence and what may have precipitated them, without considering the possibility that they are part of a pattern of abusive behaviour.

  10. Ally Fogg says

    whoops, I had to edit in a “not” into the post [8] above.

    In case it causes confusion, it did for a while say: “My own position is that domestic violence is only what you describe.”

    Hopefully made myself clear in the rest of it.

  11. Maria Hughes says

    Ally (8)

    And mine crossed over yours! Darn it!

    Yeah, I guess you could say I’m from the Kelly/ Hester ‘school’ of DV, as you’ve probably worked out by now. We may have to agree to disagree on our current definitions of DV.

    However, I agree that there should be a clear distinction between CCV and what may be considered ‘reciprocal’ violence, or violent acts where drugs/ alcohol/ stress/ mental and or physical conditions are at the root of it – because, most importantly, those situations require different responses, interventions and preventative measures, tailored to the ‘type’ of abuser and the ‘type’ of victim/ survivor.

  12. Jacob Schmidt says

    Ally Fogg

    I’m increasingly hearing the likes of Women’s Aid and academics like Marianne Hester and Liz Kelly making the argument that when we talk about DV we are talking about CCV, and that the other types don’t really count.

    This is a particularly convenient argument for feminist theorists as CCV (or ‘patriarchal terrorism’)…

    You seem to have your definitions mixed up. CCV is common couple violence, where both parties are engaging in (typically minor) physical assaults. By definition, it isn’t gendered. Partriarchal terrorism is distinct from this. Its also, by definition, gendered, so if acedemic feminists are claiming that patriarchal terrorism is gendered, they’re not really saying anything (although, it looks like what your saying is that controlling relationships are gendered, and acedemic feminists are saying the majority of such violence falls under “patriarchal terrorism”).

    As for the DV vs. CCV vs. PT thing, DV is the larger set. CCV and PT are subsets, at least from where I’m sitting.

  13. Jacob Schmidt says

    Whoops, never mind. CCV is not, by definition, agendered. It does not necessarily involve both parties acting violently. It’s agendered by virtue of both women and men engaging in it at similar rates. Sorry about that.

  14. Gjenganger says

    @Maria Hughes 11
    Very sensible answer. I would, however, break a lance for letting ‘Domestic Violence’ mean all violence in the home, and inventing a new specialist term for ‘controlling-coercive violence’. Instead of hijacking the general term for one particular subtype and having to invent something new for the general fenomenon. It is better to make changes in specialised scientific terminology than in the general meaning of words. At best the ‘hijacking’ spreads a lot of confusion, at worst it serves to mislead and manipulate, so that statistics for all kinds of violence are marshalled as an argument about patriarchal dominance, those who disagreee start distrusting all the statistics on principle etc.

    But OK, these are quibbles. Always good to meet a sensible person on the other side, as it were.

  15. carnation says

    Interesting article and excellent comments so far.

    I have a comment that is slightly off topic, but related.

    It’s been some time since I studied the different types of DV, and there’s been some really good comments on this. Part of the reason I’m so dismissive of MRAs discussing DV is that they ignore the nuance and instead go for the quickest, yet less sensical, factoid: some studies show (near) equal numbers of violent incidents committed by both sexes but there are no shelters for men, because feminism. I could go on, but we’re all familiar with the narrative.

    There might well be a need for (as many) shelters for men, though I’m not convinced. What I am sure of is this. What is needed is education for children and/or young people about what a healthy relationship looks like. What control and coercion looks like. What DV is. What stalking is. This would enable perpetrators to recognise their behaviours, too (and some great work has been done with perpetrators of DV) as well as concerned friends and relatives.

    Of course, Daily Mail readers, MRAs, Daily Mail reading MRAs and reactionaries of whatever hue would cry “children being taught to hate men, because feminism”, but it’s in their interests to keep people scare and reactionary.

    Relationships, like parenting, aren’t totally innate… Especially not for,vulnerable people.

  16. AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo says

    @16, carnation

    “they ignore the nuance, and instead go for the quickest, yet less sensical, factoid:”

    I am curious. Why do you think that? I ask because I am usually more interested in why people think the way they do.

  17. Ally Fogg says

    Jacob (13)

    Blame Michael P. Johnson. A really important researcher. In his book A Typology of Domestic Violence, and papers such as this one, he uses the terms Coercive Controlling Violence (CCV) and Situational Couple Violence (SCV)

    However in other papers he uses the terms ‘Patriarchal Terrorism’ and “Common Couple Violence” to describe the same phenomenon.

    Maria (11)

    However, I agree that there should be a clear distinction between CCV and what may be considered ‘reciprocal’ violence, or violent acts where drugs/ alcohol/ stress/ mental and or physical conditions are at the root of it – because, most importantly, those situations require different responses, interventions and preventative measures, tailored to the ‘type’ of abuser and the ‘type’ of victim/ survivor.

    Exactly.

    To be honest I don’t really care what jargon we use, but I do think we should be clear what we mean when we say something. So I basically agree with Gjenganger at 15.

    The definition you favour would also require us to start again on a lot of the prevailing narrative about DV, such as stats saying things like “1 in 6 women will experience domestic violence” or whatever. Because those stats invariably count the full range of violent incidents, not just those that fit into a coercive pattern.

    It also involves telling people who believe themselves to be victims of domestic violence that they are not. So you need another term to cover all the other people we’re talking about.

  18. carnation says

    @ AndrewV69 17

    I’m of course speculating, but I assume it’s a combination of the following:

    Dogmatic to the point of cognitive oblivion about MRA theory
    Obsession with blaming women/feminists for virtually everything, even if this means (potentially) harming men
    Intellectual laziness
    Lack of academic ability
    Reliance on “sound bites”
    Desire of prominent MRA bloggers to generate outrage
    Desire of rank and file MRA blog readers to be outraged

    The above could be applied to most MRA theory.

    Are you going to be highly original and say “that’s what feminists do”?

  19. AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo says

    @19, carnation,

    Based on your answer, it seems you took my question to mean I asked why you think that the MRAs think the way they do. My apologies.

    I wanted to know why you think the way you do. Why do you think that what MRAs focus on is “less sensical, factoid:” such as the lack of DV shelters for men?

  20. carnation says

    You weren’t clear, asking me I think people act in a certain way strongly suggests you want my opinion on their actions and thoughts.

    Why do I have that opinion of MRAs? From reading their blogs, interacting with them and having a fairly good grasp on MRA logic, such as it is.

    Lets try another thought experiment though.

    Why wouldn’t MRAs come to the conclusions that they have? Why wouldn’t they offer sensible solutions to the issues they identified?

    Their motives are clear: posit feminists/women enabled by feminists as a dire threat to men.

  21. Ginkgo says

    Ally @ 8 – “This is a particularly convenient argument for feminist theorists as CCV (or ‘patriarchal terrorism’) appears to be much more heavily gendered than other types of violence”

    How much of this gendering is definitional due to tradtional gender roles, so that behavior that conforms to these roles, such as the “Lady of the house” trope, the “man-child” trope, mommy-blocking and female control of family finances; are so backgrounded as not to be labeled abuse – in cultures where these norms apply?

    The inverse male form of this kind of control, that we see in polygamist settings for instance, is often equally normalized in those cultural settings and very hard to get acknowledged as abuse by people living with those cultural assumptions.

  22. AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo says

    @21, carnation,

    “Why wouldn’t they offer sensible solutions to the issues they identified?”

    Well, why are DV shelters for men not a sensible solution?

  23. carnation says

    @ AndrewV69

    And of course, virtually no MRAs do anything to provide practical help to men.

  24. AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo says

    @#24, carnation,

    “A solution to what identified and researched problem?”

    I would have thought that the “identified and researched problem” was DV. We have shelters for women, and last I was aware, MRAs seem to think that shelters for men are a good idea.

    Can I assume that you think that DV shelters for men are “less sensical” and/or an example that is not a “sensible solutions to the issues they identified?”

    (this is not an attack BTW. I am curious about this)

  25. karmakin says

    @carnation: Actually, I’d say that’s what movementarians (as I call it) do. Doesn’t matter what the movement is for, be it MRA, feminism, animal rights, civil rights, environmentalists, gun rights, pro-abortion, anti-abortion whatever.

    Whatever cause you care to mention has people who do things along the lines of the things that you mentioned, for who the cause is more about tribal identity than making things better. It’s a simple truth of the world, I think. Some causes have more than others, of course, (for example I think the active anti-abortion lobby is almost entirely made up of tribalists) but generally speaking you’re always going to see them.

  26. thascius says

    DV shelters for men are a sensible solution. Eliminating/defunding DV shelters for women to provide DV shelters for men-not so sensible. Are there men’s rights groups trying to raise money for such shelters or open them themselves? If so that’s great, but I’ll I’ve heard from MRA’s on the subject is complaining about what women are getting.

  27. Schala says

    If so that’s great, but I’ll I’ve heard from MRA’s on the subject is complaining about what women are getting.

    VAWA funds is supposed to be for ALL of DV, not just violence against women. As feminism always tell me, it’s gender-neutral.

  28. thascius says

    Do you know of any specific case where VAWA funds were denied because they would serve men? Has anyone tried to open a DV shelter for men and been told they could not get funding because it would serve men? I can’t swear that it’s never happened, but as you point out, the specific language of VAWA says it’s for all DV victims. I am not a lawyer, but that sure sound like it would be grounds for a lawsuit. If it happened.

  29. thascius says

    @ 32-sounds like it would be grounds for a lawsuit. I need to proofread better.

  30. Schala says

    Has anyone tried to open a DV shelter for men and been told they could not get funding because it would serve men?

    Yes, it’s happened.

    VAWA stipulates that more than half of funds must go to serve female victims, so you either have to open a co-ed shelter, or a women’s shelter, can’t open JUST a men’s one.

  31. AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo says

    @ #28, thascius

    I am only aware of failed attempts due to lack of funding to run DV shelters for men. Examples, include Next Steps Housing in the UK, a non-profit organization with three full-time employees which was started in 2009 but was issued a dissolve notice by 2010. Then there was the recent Earl Silverman attempt in Canada which ended with him loosing his home and comitting suicide earlier this year.

    There is an existing model for the type of DV shelter I have in mind. For example the St. Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Manchester (the first one of 46 such centers) focuses on rape. I would like to see something along similar lines for DV (bolding mine)

    St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC)provides a comprehensive and co-ordinated forensic, counselling and aftercare service to men, women and children living in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire area who have experienced rape or sexual assault, whether this has happened recently or in the past.

    Our Centre comprises a team of experts with a wealth of knowledge and experience in advising, supporting and treating anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted.

  32. Adiabat says

    Ginkgo:

    How much of this gendering is definitional due to tradtional gender roles, so that behavior that conforms to these roles, such as the “Lady of the house” trope, the “man-child” trope, mommy-blocking and female control of family finances; are so backgrounded as not to be labeled abuse – in cultures where these norms apply?

    Most of it. We don’t consider behaviour such ‘henpecking’ (as in “the henpecked husband”) as domestic abuse, though in reverse this would be. I suspect this is because of the reasons you give.

    In addition, the behaviour of women, often the exact same behaviour as that done by men, has often been downplayed in DV research for no good reason. For example see this egregious example in Stark (2007):

    “Absent sexual equality, the same acts have different meanings. A woman keeps track of her partner’s other relationships, even scans the web sites he has visited or scans his emails. She uses various wiles to control his purchasing choices or flies into a jealous rage at the slightest pretext, withholds herself sexually and emotionally to feel more powerful, embarrasses him in front of his friends or hers, and perhaps even slaps him when he spends the rent money to buy drugs… But it is the social endowment men inherit from sexual inequality, not the motives or frequency of these acts, that allows them (but rarely women) to shape discrete acts into patterns of dominance that entrap partners and make them subordinate.

    It’s mostly due to Stark’s ideological starting point that he minimises the violence committed women and denigrates men who are subject to domestic violence with his reference to the woman who “perhaps even slaps him when he spends the rent money to buy drugs”.

    The focus on gender in DV research, largely a result of Second Wave feminism (Johnson 2008, p.25) (not that the third wave is doing anything to rectify the problem), has largely been a disaster as “[t]he best predictor of intimate partner violence is not gender but personality disorder” (Dutton 2006, p.153).

    Dutton, D G (2006) Rethinking domestic violence (University of British Columbia Press: Vancouver)
    Johnson, M P (2008) A typology of domestic violence (Northeastern University Press: Lebanon)
    Stark, E (2007) Coercive Control; How men entrap women in personal life (OUP: Oxford)

  33. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Schala #33

    Yes, it’s happened.

    VAWA stipulates that more than half of funds must go to serve female victims, so you either have to open a co-ed shelter, or a women’s shelter, can’t open JUST a men’s one.

    [citation needed]

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, just want some data.

    If the law allows women only shelters but not men only then I don’t think that’s right. Women are disproportionately affected by DV so I can se the logic disproportionate funding, but surely the logic behind a women’s only shelter is that there are problems and methods to help which are specific to situations where women are the victims, so surely the same can be said of situations where men are the victims? They should either be all unisex or there should be provisions for both, the latter being my preference.

  34. Schala says

    I can’t see the logic for 99.9% of shelter programs and 0.0% of batterer programs for women vs

    0.1% of shelter programs and 100.0% of batterer porgrams

    There is disproportionate, and there is “we don’t serve your kind” outright.

  35. Adiabat says

    Back On Topic: I can see why people are looking at the effect the recession will have on DV. There are some links shown between poverty and DV in the research, though unbelievably it is an area that has been marginalised in favour of gender differences (partially due to the political desire to make DV primarily a “women’s issue”).

    It “makes sense” that there is some connection between poverty and DV. A man who “fails” to meet their gender role may ‘lash out’ at those nearby, and it is also something that may be used against him by an abusive partner. For example, Hines et al (2007) showed that 38% of men in the US had experienced this ‘economic abuse’.

    As always though, “more research is needed”.

  36. mildlymagnificent says

    VAWA stipulates that more than half of funds must go to serve female victims, so you either have to open a co-ed shelter, or a women’s shelter, can’t open JUST a men’s one.

    More than half of those funds must be used for female victims. That doesn’t mean that organisations have to dedicate a stipulated portion of every building, every facility, every service and every staff member’s hours to be split in this way. It simply means that if you apply for VAWA funds you can’t apply those funds entirely to women’s services, you must provide services for men.

    Once we get to the state where the applicants for such services are equally split between men and women, we might take a different approach. For the time being, men are a much smaller client group than women – and more women than men are turned away from overloaded facilities currently – the unmet need is still more women than men.

    As for not being “able” to open a men only shelter. Either you already have a larger organisation which can operate several facilities, or you go for private funds only to get started with a men only building/ service and then offer to merge your organisation with a women’s service — which would then enable the whole enterprise to qualify for VAWA funding. .

  37. Schala says

    It simply means that if you apply for VAWA funds you can’t apply those funds entirely to women’s services, you must provide services for men.

    Wrong, they can make women-only services. They can’t make men-only services.

    And batterer-help and anger management is not services for men.

  38. AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo says

    @42, Schala,

    Seeing as some of us may not be acquainted with VAWA can you provide a link to where this is stated?

  39. Jacob Schmidt says

    Schala

    Wrong, they can make women-only services. They can’t make men-only services.

    Can they? Or have the women’s only services been grandfathered in?

    Ally

    Blame Michael P. Johnson. A really important researcher. In his book A Typology of Domestic Violence, and papers such as this one, he uses the terms Coercive Controlling Violence (CCV) and Situational Couple Violence (SCV)

    Mea culpa. I should’ve thought of that, given my background (do you know how many variables ‘rho’ stands for? Too fucking many).

    Adiabat

    Most of it. We don’t consider behaviour such ‘henpecking’ (as in “the henpecked husband”) as domestic abuse, though in reverse this would be. I suspect this is because of the reasons you give.

    What exactly is henpecking and why isn’t it considered controlling behaviour?

  40. Schala says

    “Seeing as some of us may not be acquainted with VAWA can you provide a link to where this is stated?”

    I don’t have a link or citation for anything I’ll ever say besides the CDC. I’m awful at looking up the stuff. I’m not a librarian.

    I go by what I read.

  41. thascius says

    @34-Lack of funding sucks. Unfortunately most (if not all) non-profits these days are suffering from it. The DV model you mention sounds like a good idea. Your comment is the first time I’ve heard of any efforts like those. I know a lot of people assume that men don’t need DV shelters because they are physically stronger or have more financial resources, etc, but that’s certainly not true for all men. It may take private groups founding and funding such places on their own (in this fund-raising climate, yuck) to prove to policy-makers that there really is a need for such things.
    As for VAWA specifying women-only shelters are okay but men-only ones aren’t-that doesn’t sound right. I haven’t tried to get my hands on and read the entirety of that law, and frankly don’t have the time. But if it does say that, it certainly sounds like that should be grounds for a legal challenge.

  42. mildlymagnificent says

    Schala

    Wrong, they can make women-only services. They can’t make men-only services.

    Ok, I’ll take your reading as the correct one. So the second option I suggested is still open. Start a men only service – on the smell of an oily rag if needs be, that’s how most charitable enterprises start – then become part of a larger organisation. Works for me.

    A service is provided for men and then meets VAWA obligations so becomes more stable in funding. A service that was exclusively for women adds a men’s service ready-made without having to divert its own limited resources.

  43. abear says

    The rise of feminism after WW2 is clearly the cause of the moral decay exhibited by the baby boomers.
    This toxic trend of man hatred would have continued to poison later generations had it not been for the rise of birth control. Instead of feminists training their male children to be antisocial, they have simply been murdering them , mainly before they are even conceived, thanks to readily available contraception.
    Statistics show (I haven’t checked but pretty sure this is true) that mainly non man haters are the women bearing and raising children these days, hence less crime in recent generations.

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