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  • 1st-November-2013
    Douglas

    Re: Letter to MP over clear case of discrimination in Parliament

    I am still maintaining a correspondence with my local MP on the discrimination against men, including the issues surrounding VAW policies and procedures. If one has enough time to read all that is happening in Parliament, I'm sure that discrimination against men - in the nature of not bothering (much) about male victims of violence - can be found almost on a weekly basis.

    Here's one short exchange recently. Philip Davies is an MP who has questioned several feminist aspects of government thinking.

    House of Commons Hansard Debates for 31 Oct 2013 (pt 0001)
    Violence against Women and Girls
    ...
    Philip Davies (Shipley) (Con): Is it the Government’s view that taking steps to increase awareness of and prevent violence against women and girls is more important than increasing awareness of and preventing violence against men and boys, or is it the Government’s view that it is equally important to increase awareness of and prevent violence against all of them?

    Norman Baker [The Minister for Crime Prevention]: I certainly agree that it is important to act on violence against any individual. Of course, it is predominantly against women and girls and vulnerable adults, and they must come first in our consideration, but it is also true that the £40 million recently allocated to deal with these matters includes a strand to deal with violence against men and boys.
  • 13th-May-2011
    Marx

    Re: Letter to MP over clear case of discrimination in Parliament

    Quote Quote from Douglas View Post
    Subject : Government discrimination against men
    Having quoted Douglas' original post and forwarded to my own MP, I give you below what unfolded since.

    Dear Master Marx, Oh Wonderful One,
    Thank you for your email but I have been having trouble getting hold of you on this address. However, meanwhile I have written to Theresa May MP, Minister for Equalities about this. I will contact you again with the reply.

    Best wishes,

    M
    Dear Mark,

    Thank you kindly for your reply. I look forward to your next communication.

    Regards,
    Dear Master Marx, Oh Wonderful One,

    Further to my email on 14th February, please find attached the reply from Lynne Featherstone MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office. I hope you find her reply satisfactory and that she has assured you that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) takes domestic violence and sexual assault against men very seriously.

    Best wishes,

    Mark

    I won't include the attached document as it includes private addresses, emails and names - instead I will manually transcribe her reply to Mark.

    Thank you for letter dated 2nd February on behalf of Master Marx, the Wonderful one, regarding the Government's response to male victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. I am replying as the minister responsible for this area of policy.

    The Government takes the issue of male victims extremely seriously. The Government also believes any victim suffering persistent abuse should be treated equally. The Government definition of domestic violence is:

    "Any incidence of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality"

    I note Mr. Marx comments about male and female victims of domestic violence. The British Crime Survey Self-Completion Module found that 4% of men and 7% of women reported having experienced domestic violence in 2009/10. However, women were more likely to experience repeated instances and more frequent. Since women are more likely to experience and and suffer greater injury from domestic violence our primary focus at a national level is currently female victims. It is for that reason we focus our limited resources on those sections of the population who are suffering most hardships.

    Mr. Marx may also be interested to know that the Domestic Violence, Crimes & Victims Act (2004) is gender neutral and all services particularly criminal justice agencies, should take all victims seriously. This includes guidance recently issues by the Associational of Chief of Police Officers to police forces on investigating instances of domestic violence. The Home Office also funds the Men's Advice (and Enquiry) Line and is committed to providing support for this vital service for victims. We are supportive of the Men's Coalition and we will continue to develop our relationship with them, to ensure that our policies take account of the specific needs and experiences of men in a wide range of areas, including domestic violence.

    This Government is also committed to tackling sexual offences. Violence against any member of society is totally unacceptable, whatever the context or circumstances. It is important to recognise that men are also victims of sexual violence, and it is essential that they feel able to come forward and report this horrific crime.

    We will continue to support provisions such as Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) and Independent Sexual Violence Advisors, so that victims can access support they need in the aftermath of such a horrific abuse.

    (more to come / I got tired of copying it from a physical letter)
    Finally, I replied with the following:
    Quote Quote from me
    Hello Mark,

    Thank you for forwarding this to me. However, while you state you are satisfied, I find the text to be practically an admission that men are only a secondary consideration.

    As you and I are both aware, these programs are designed to attract female victims, which by the very nature of a gendered-approach, discourages male victims from coming forward.

    A similar approach is given in health care - where the vast, vast majority of focus is directed towards women while men's health continues to spiral downhill.

    As a man, when I visit my local GP, the waiting room is primarily geared towards women's interests and some gender neutral areas. If I pick up a magazine it is either a 'country walk' or a women's gossip magazine, or perhaps a children's comic. This shows clearly that the GP waiting room is designed to cater to the comfort of women and children but not to men. A car magazine or science information book wouldn't go amiss. Believe it or not, I am not interested - even remotely - in the drama of Jordan's new lover and her argument about the size of her heels or other fashion accessory in this month's "Hot Goss" magazine. Nor am I particularly interested in what Dennis the Menace did to Walter the Softy in this week's "Beano".

    Further, as I walk towards my GP's office, I see posters for various cancer awareness campaigns. I see one for ovarian cancer, one for breast cancer and then another for cervical cancer. Apparently, prostate cancer or testicular cancer is not something I should worry about - because it seems that I, as a man, should pay all my attention to female-specific cancers which are of far, far more concern and interest. I realise that my focus is being redirected from my own potential health issues onto women's health issues - despite the fact that women already receive considerably more monetary funding, research and awareness-raising campaigns at the expense of men.

    As I continue my walk to the GP's office, on display are more posters, this time for domestic violence with pictures of only women as victims, not one of them shows a woman as the aggressor and not one of them shows a man as a victim - this sends a clear message that male victims are of no interest. This has also been reflected at my local hospital too. As someone who has been unfortunate enough to live through a violent relationship with a hot-tempered woman in the past, I find these adverts reinforces the societal mentality that 'men don't cry/need help', meaning that when I felt suicidal on more than one occasion - I could only turn to family, with little to no help from the medical or political world.

    So in short, I observe that the CPS seems to be breaking the current laws on equality. Men are not given any awareness raising campaigns about issues we face, legal or otherwise. We are not given the same funding that we deserve and we are not given anything close to the same consideration - even the title VAW sends out a very, very clear message that women are considerably more important than men. Such a title has the impact of telling men they are excluded and not welcome. How can our elites (politicians and such) not see this? Ah - maybe you can, and you simply do not care..?


    I await your input on this matter.
  • 25th-February-2011
    johnkimble1

    Re: Letter to MP over clear case of discrimination in Parliament

    I have plenty of knowledge of all those things other than maybe prostitution.

    I don't have the stats to hand but a very important point is that a great deal of boys and particularly girls suffer sexual abuse. What the feminists do is lump in the girls with women,whereas if you add the girls and boys together you get a huge amount of abuse of children. I think women might just be more effected but it's close if I recall correctly.

    With rape it's worth noting we use the outdated ancient definition of rape rather than a modern one. Therefore due to the sexist definition it is impossible to commit a rape unless you have a penis. A woman can only ever be convicted of rape in the UK if she is assisting someone with a penis to commit the offence. Any reposne shoudl include calling for a gender neutral definition of rape to be introduced.

    human trafficking is probably the best area to focus on. Certainly huge number of male victims becasue the main area of absue tend to be in forced labour rather than any sex work.

    Genital mutilation tends to be a prominent part of VAWG strategies, and of course there are far more male vicitms in that area.
  • 24th-February-2011
    Douglas

    Re: Letter to MP over clear case of discrimination in Parliament

    The Attorney General wrote (my emphasis):
    The CPS VAW strategy is an overarching framework designed to address specific crimes and ultimately increase the number of successful prosecutions of offences that have been identified as being committed primarily, but not exclusively, by men against women. These crimes include, among others: domestic violence; rape; other sexual offences; prostitution; and human trafficking. Although the majority of victims covered by offences with the VAW strategy are women, the CPS recognises that many victims will be men and they require that justice is done.
    This leaves me to wonder whether those crimes stated as being included really ARE primarily of men against women. I'd like some help on this please. Here are my first thoughts:

    Domestic violence
    This has been identified as being primarily against women by some reports. Most reports show that, on average, women suffer more serious injury than men. As pointed out in my original letter, "research ... indicates that men are between 35% and 70% of the overall victims of domestic violence."
    I need to back this up with UK-specific evidence, as my 'standard' reports I use from Fecks Warcraft file is US-centric.

    Rape
    I've heard that in the USA more men are raped (typically in prisons) than women. I wonder if this is true of the UK and if there are any reliable statistics on this?

    Sexual offences other than rape
    I have no idea on this. Are children more affected than women? Are men+children more affected than women? Any clues anyone?

    Prostitution
    Prostitution by itself is not a criminal act in the UK. However, I think it reasonable to assume that this is meant as the group of crimes connected with prostitution. These include child prostitution, curb crawling, and pimping. With child prostitution, the victim is a child, not a woman (is that splitting hairs, given that it is probably a female child?). Does curb crawling have a victim? A pimp is most likely to be pimping women, since they tend to seek protection of men more, but I'm not sure who the victim is, society or the prostitute. Some more research is needed but it looks like this one might just squeeze in as a crime mostly against women.

    Human trafficking
    I honestly had no idea that this was notably of one gender or the other. Don't entire families get shipped around? Again, I need information.

    If anyone can help me with data on these issues, especially pointers to information that UK politicians cannot reasonably ignore, I would be very grateful.
  • 24th-February-2011
    Douglas

    Re: Letter to MP over clear case of discrimination in Parliament

    Reading the words carefully, I'm seeing that I'm not very comforted by the Attorney General's letter, most of which is presumably a copy-paste from Mr Nick Hunt. If I remove all but the specific statements on how the issue of discrimination and fairness to men is addressed, I end up with:
    I can assure you that the CPS Violence Against Women (VAW) strategy does not discriminate against male victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
    ...
    ...the CPS recognises that many victims will be men and they require that justice is done.
    It could well be argued that any gender-specific policy to aid one group does not discriminate against another group. For example, it could be said that rescuing stray dogs who are black does not do any harm to stray dogs who are not black; equally is could be said that getting justice for women does not do any harm to children or men. So the first statement passes.

    That the CPS recognises that many victims will be men and that those victims require justice says nothing in itself of how those victims will get justice. That's not to say that the issue wasn't at least partially addressed in the claims that the Violence Against Women strategy is really a strategy for penalising violence against women and men, and children.

    It can be hard to prove whether the law is being applied neutrally or not. Clearly, the number of prosecutions does not tell us this, as it merely reflects the outcome of what I suspect is a biased system. How can one determine the number of incidences of violence against women, against men, against children, to compare with the prosecutions?
  • 24th-February-2011
    Percy

    Re: Letter to MP over clear case of discrimination in Parliament

    Doug, you have done it again.

    Prompted me to follow up.

    My MP has not responded, so I phoned his office and very politly bollocked his secretary on his behalf.

    I have followed this up with another email as follows......

    Mr Wilkie.

    I sent an email on 31/01/2011, copied below.

    I have yet to receive confirmation of your intended action.

    Your secretary was asked, today, to ensure that you read and respond at your earliest convenience.

    Mr Wilkie, since my last email, the Government has released a ‘Plan’......

    National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their children

    17/02/2011

    http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/about/news/2011/Pages/national_plan_2011.aspx

    The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 has been released.

    On 15 February 2011, the Minister for the Status of Women, the Hon Kate Ellis MP, and the Attorney-General, the Hon Robert McClelland MP, announced the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022. The Plan is a 12-year strategy endorsed by the Commonwealth and all states and territories.

    National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010-2022


    This is an OUTRAGE.

    Even the preamble shows the paucity of intellect that has worked on this plan.

    If you read the Plan, from the Government which exists because of your support, you will see the sheer awfulness and damage about to be unleashed on Australians.

    The scope of the plan totally ignores men except in the context of programs to stop male violence.

    There is NO provision for services to assist men who are subjected to Sexual Abuse, Domestic Violence or False Accusation.

    The focus is entirely upon violence against women. Violence against men is ignored, as though it didn’t exist.

    Children are considered to be property of women. ‘Women and Their Children’.

    OUTRAGEOUS, sir.

    Children have FATHERS. You may have heard the term. They are now called ‘Parent 2’ by your Feminist parliamentary colleagues.

    The Gillard Government is sexually divisive.

    It is Misandric.

    I want YOU to stand up in Parliament and condemn this rampant, biased, sexist, anti-male ‘Plan’.
    Please respond with your intended action.


    Yours sincerely



    By the way Doug:

    Like it.

    I can assure you that the CPS Violence Against Women (VAW) strategy does not discriminate against male victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

    The CPS has a number of individual policies that sit within the VAW framework (for example domestic violence or rape; Scottish Railway Passenger amenities; Badger hunting season adjustments, Foreign Aid to Libyans abroad in Non-Arab countries that are all gender neutral and are applied irrespective of gender,
  • 24th-February-2011
    Douglas

    Re: Letter to MP over clear case of discrimination in Parliament

    In terms of the response from my MP (I'll deal with the AG's response when I'm more awake), I asked three things of him:
    I would like you to raise with the Attorney-General, publicly if possible, what steps are being taken to increase the conviction rate for domestic violence and sexual assault specifically where men are the victim.
    This has been addressed by relying entirely on the AG's letter to him. The summary of that letter seems to be that the Violence Against Women strategy is completely gender neutral.
    I don't see how the VAW can be gender neutral, even if one is to accept the contemporary intention. If one is to devise a gender-neutral strategy, one does not start off by including gender in the heading whether or not more people commit that crime are of one gender. Most shoplifters are women but it would be nonsense to have a Female Shoplifter Strategy that included all shoplifters. Further, by having discrimination in the title, all readings and dealings under that title are inevitably coloured by it.
    I would also like to know that the Equality Acts are going to be implemented properly to protect men from violence and to help and shelter them when the protection fails.
    This has not been addressed.
    My MP has relied entirely on the answer from the Attorney General, which addressed prosecution issues, not the wider aspect of protection and shelter for men. I need to press on this point, preferably backing it up with other statistics to show the necessity.
    What steps will you take to ensure the safety and security of men in this country?
    This was partially addressed in my MP's first letter to me, when he told me he was writing to the Attorney General.
    This question could be read as just a pressure-point but is not fully answered to my satisfaction. I think I need to provide some areas of specific concern and ask which of these he feels he should be addressing himself to.
  • 23rd-February-2011
    Douglas

    Re: Letter to MP over clear case of discrimination in Parliament

    I received a response today from my Member of Parliament. His letter is not very important in itself, since mostly it refers to two enclosures: a letter from Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, to my MP about my letter (which was apparently forwarded); a booklet dated in the previous government titled "The Code for Crown Prosecutors" (emphasis is original).

    Presumably, replies to other MPs on this subject will be much the same, so I'm going to substantively quote the Attorney General's letter to my MP verbatim.
    Thank you for your letter ... regarding your constituent ... and his concerns about the steps that are being taken to increase the conviction rates in cases involving male victims of domestic violence abuse and sexual assault.

    I have received a letter from Mr Nick Hunt, the Director of Strategy & Policy at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

    The CPS takes all cases of violence seriously, regardless of the gender of the perpetrator or the victim. I can assure you that the CPS Violence Against Women (VAW) strategy does not discriminate against male victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The CPS has a number of individual policies that sit within the VAW framework (for example domestic violence or rape) that are all gender neutral and are applied irrespective of gender, in accordance with the principles set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors. I attach copies of the Code for you and [your constituent].

    The CPS VAW strategy is an overarching framework designed to address specific crimes and ultimately increase the number of successful prosecutions of offences that have been identified as being committed primarily, but not exclusively, by men against women. These crimes include, among others: domestic violence; rape; other sexual offences; prostitution; and human trafficking. Although the majority of victims covered by offences with the VAW strategy are women, the CPS recognises that many victims will be men and they require that justice is done.

    I hope you are assured that the CPS takes cases of domestic violence and sexual assault very seriously regardless of the gender of the victims.

    RT HON DOMINIC GRIEVE QC MP
    (For those confused by the signature:
    Rt Hon is abbreviation for Right Honourable, which indicates that this is a Member of Parliament who is also on the Privy Council;
    QC is initials of Queen's Counsel, which means he is a lawyer;
    MP says, again, that he is a Member of Parliament.)


    The booklet I was sent is also available online in PDF format (English version 278k).
    The CPS : The Code for Crown Prosecutors
    Having had a quick scan for words like 'woman' 'male' 'wife' 'husband' I could find no evidence that 'The Code' has any gender bias. Indeed, section 2.4 says
    Prosecutors must be fair , independent and objective. They must not let any personal views about ... gender, ... sexual orientation, or gender identity of the suspect, victim or any witness influence their decisions.
    I have several thoughts so far about this response. However, I'd rather keep them to a separate post than this one, so I won't air them just now. Comments, anyone?
  • 1st-February-2011
    Douglas

    Re: Letter to MP over clear case of discrimination in Parliament

    Quote Quote from Percy View Post
    Douglas,
    your excellent example and lead has prompted me to adapt your letter and send it to my own MP in Australia. As below:
    I'm glad to have been an inspiration to such an inspiring man as yourself.

    You have a lot of issues in Australia, with the laws on domestic violence in some states (is that the word) being prefaced with the concept that almost all violence in the home is committed by men. I understand that this is even proposed at Commonwealth level. Like the UK, you also have most police and social services automatically treating society as though women=victim and man=thug.

    It will be interesting to see what kind of response you get.
  • 31st-January-2011
    Percy

    Re: Letter to MP over clear case of discrimination in Parliament

    Douglas,

    you excellent example and lead has prompted me to adapt your letter and send it to my own MP in Australia. As below:

    Dear Mr Wilkie

    A parliamentary question was recently asked in the UK about the steps being taken to increase the conviction rate for domestic violence and sexual assault.

    It is an issue occasionally pursued by members of the Australian Parliament and in like fashion here, other than one sentence of bland assurance of continuing review, the response was entirely centered around female victims.

    As Ms Erin Pizzey (founder of the first ever domestic violence shelter for women) has pointed out, incidences where males are victims of domestic violence is more prevalent though far less visible and reported than those where females are victims (Pizzey is now patron of the men's domestic violence charity).

    Research since Pizzey's evidence indicates that men are between 35% and 70% of the overall victims of domestic violence and almost 100% of False Allegation victims. Differing emphases in different reports accounts for the variation. Men, too, are subject to sexual assault and there is evidence that this is on the rise.

    Most men feel a social and political pressure against reporting that they are being victimised at home or elsewhere. When men do report domestic violence or sexual assault, they are often demeaned, denied or dismissed. They even find themselves treated as a suspect and their attacker as the victim, because the entire legal system (as evidenced by the way the parliamentary question was answered) is aimed at having only the female as the victim.

    I would like you to raise with the Attorney-General, publicly if possible, in Parliament, what steps are being taken to increase the conviction rate for domestic violence and sexual assault and False Accusations specifically where men are the victims.

    I would also like to know that the various Equality and Anti-Discrimination Acts are going to be implemented properly to protect men from violence and false accusation and to help and shelter them when the protection fails.

    What steps will you take to ensure the safety and security of men in this country?

    Yours faithfully,
    .............


    Hansard (UK) Extract of 10th January 2011
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110110/text/110110w0003.htm#11011036000021

    Ms Bagshawe: To ask the Attorney-General what steps his Department plans to take to seek to increase the conviction rate for offences of (a) domestic violence and (b) sexual assault. [32317]

    The Attorney-General: Improving prosecutions and support for victims in violence against women (VAW) cases is a priority for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The CPS keeps under review its specific policies on prosecuting cases of domestic violence and rape. In January 2011, the CPS will launch a new VAW assurance scheme to help further improve VAW prosecutions. Convictions in domestic violence cases rose from 65% to 72% between 2006-07 and 2009-10. During that period, convictions for rape rose from 54% to 59%; and for sexual offences other than rape, from 68% to 76%.
  • 31st-January-2011
    johnkimble1

    Re: Letter to MP over clear case of discrimination in Parliament

    35 - 70 would be taking into account of all different studies. I.e. both those figures are the extremes and anomalies and the chances are that the figure is someone in the middle.

    The most respected figures from a UK perspective are without doubt the UK crime survey and it's always best to quote these when dealggn with MPs. This consistently shows 40% of vicitms to be men.
  • 30th-January-2011
    Percy

    Re: Letter to MP over clear case of discrimination in Parliament

    One matter though.

    This 35 - 70%.

    I am always skeptical when a percentage range is given without some explanation.
  • 30th-January-2011
    johnkimble1

    Re: Letter to MP over clear case of discrimination in Parliament

    This is excellent activism.

    If only we all lived in Dominic Raab's constituency.

    Can't remember the name but there's superb Member of the Scottish Parliament who forced a debate on "violence against men" last year which was a superb achievement. Can I suggest people ask their MP's to propose a similar debate in England (or in Wales if you live there). If they can achieve this in Scotland it should be possible anywhere.

    I blogged about the Scottish debate here:

    The Rights Of Man : FOR EVERY £3,500 SPENT ON FEMALE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS, £1 IS SPENT ON THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS
  • 19th-January-2011
    Marx

    Re: Letter to MP over clear case of discrimination in Parliament

    I'm still waiting on a reply...
  • 19th-January-2011
    Douglas

    Re: Letter to MP over clear case of discrimination in Parliament

    The (postal) response received today from my MP is as encouraging as one could reasonably hope for, I think.

    He agrees that, whatever the ratio of male to female victims, it is "certainly the case that men are subject to abuse" and they should not be ignored when the subject is being discussed.

    He has committed to writing to the Attorney-General about it, and to letting me know when he has received a response.

    Have you sent your MP an e-mail yet? The more people in parliament are alerted on anti-male discrimination, the more likely they will spot it themselves in future. The more MPs who write to the Attorney-General, the more we are likely to see improvement.
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