Irish Independent

Sunday, December 19, 1999

Men victims of abuse

Letter to the Editor

Sir

In Aine O'Connor's article last Sunday, `Time to heal this violent hurt', she refers to figures which suggest that 95 per cent of domestic abuse is carried out by men.

While I can understand why she would use these widely quoted figures, I would like to point out that the statistics are both outdated and incorrect.

The figures, trotted out time and again, are the results of one-sided, biased questioning and research which precludes the idea that men can also be victims of domestic abuse. Are these statistics used to support prejudice rather than illuminate?

If anyone is interested in knowing the truth, there are numerous two-sex studies which paint a different picture. All of these studies clearly demonstrate that women and men in intimate relationships abuse each other in equal numbers. The results of a British Crime survey released by the Home Office in January this year support the findings of these studies.

Minister Mary Wallace has publicly acknowledged that at least 20 per cent of the victims of domestic abuse are men. Yet her Government has failed to provide or fund any support services for male victims of domestic abuse. The experiences of men as victims of domestic violence have been largely unrecognised, unobserved, unattended and unarticulated. The time has come for the Government to deal with the issue of domestic abuse in a fair and equitable manner.

Mary T Cleary, Amen.