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)