Violence Against Men

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:07 pm on 10th June 2010.

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Photo of Johann Lamont Johann Lamont Labour 3:07 pm, 10th June 2010

I do not accept that representation of what happens to male victims. I have described and characterised how we advanced the rights and interests of victims.

Although the motion talks of support for male victims, and we recognise that, our amendment affirms what has been accepted for a long time, which is that the problem is overwhelmingly one of gender inequality. We affirm that because a gendered analysis of the problem is central to addressing it, not just one point of view among many others. It is a reflection of international agreements and obligations relating to gender inequality and violence against women. There is also international recognition of women's experience of domestic abuse. We know about it from our communities and our surgeries. The police, doctors, housing officers, social workers and schools tell us about the disproportionate number of women who are victims, and the disproportionate number of men who are perpetrators. That is not to deny one right of a male victim of violence in his own home.

I have a stark statistic that must shape our policy. Of men who are murdered, 5 per cent are murdered by a partner or ex-partner. Of women who are murdered, 44 per cent are murdered by a partner or ex-partner. When anyone asks, "Why did she not leave?" that is the statistic that keeps a woman from going through the door and out of violence because it shows the consequences for so many women when they leave.

I recognise the demand for further research, and I reflect on some of the commentary that we have already that, when men report domestic abuse, there are stark differences. I ought not to have to repeat that I have compassion for all victims of violence, men and women, but there is a difference in the levels of fear and panic that men and women report. When victims are male, a disproportionate number of the perpetrators are also male, and—