Letter sent to Havering council to challenge the inequality of DV services in the borough

To Whom It May Concern,

I would like to make a formal complaint about the following:

I have read the boroughs domestic violence guide to services 2012 at the following link: https://www.havering.gov.uk/Documents/Community-Safety/DomesticViolenceGuide2012.pdf.

This literature is inaccurate and misleading. It states on page 4 that 95% of victims of domestic abuse are women. This is not accurate information and misleads men and women to believe that only 5% of victims are men. The Mankind initiative and Refuge highlight the following:

‘38% of domestic abuse victims are male: for every five victims, three will be

female, two will be male.

(2) 7.1% of women and 4.4% of men were estimated to have experienced domestic

abuse in the last year, equivalent to an estimated 1.15 million female and 720,000

male victims.

(3) 30% of women and 16.3% (one in six) of men have experienced domestic abuse

since the age of 16. These figures were equivalent to an estimated 4.9 million

female victims of domestic abuse and 2.7 million male victims’(http://www.mankind.org.uk/pdfs/25_Key_Facts_Aug_2014_(final).pdf)

A crime and disorder committee in Havering(May 2012)reported:

‘The recent strategic assessment for Havering has found that between 1st of January 2011 and the 31 st of December 2011 there were 1214 domestic violence offences within the Borough’.(p2)

Of the 1214 offences 80% were female and 20% male victims.

‘It should be noted that in addition to the 1200 reported offences there are a further 2872 incidents recorded on the CRiS system where the incident was of a domestic nature but no statutory offence had been committed’.(p2)

Havering Women’s Aid supported 1192 women, 539 children and 20 men between 2010/2011. Based on the figure of 1214 offences Women’s Aid supported 98% of the female victims in the borough between 2010-2011.This is excellent and encouraging for female victims of DV. For men in the borough the support outcomes appears very different. Although 20% of the 1214 figure were men Women’s aid only appear to have engaged and supported 1.6% of the 1214 figure. Alternatively only 20 out of 242 men were supported. That means at the least 222 male victims in the borough between 2010-2011 did not gain support from Women’s Aid.

The Equality Act 2010 Public Sector Equality Duty states clearly that public sector organisations have  duty to:

  1. Eliminate unlawful discrimination
  2. Advance equality of opportunity
  3. Foster good relations

I would suggest that the literature outlined above containing inaccurate information fails to address the ongoing discrimination of male victims of domestic abuse and fails to advance the equality of opportunity for these victims. Further to this the service providing support for men in the borough is called Women’s Aid. I would argue that this suggests the service is for women only and creates barriers for men accessing support in the borough again this does not meet the duty under the Equality Act.

The Human Rights Act 1998 Article 1 argues that the UK government has a duty to protect  ‘Everyone’s right to life…[and]… shall be protected by law’. The boroughs failure to eliminate, encourage and advance equality of opportunity contravene the rights of men to be protected in the borough.

Many Thanks,

Jason Byrne

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