Violence Against Men

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 4:30 pm on 10th June 2010.

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Photo of Hugh O'Donnell Hugh O'Donnell Liberal Democrat 4:30 pm, 10th June 2010

What happens now is that the word of the initiator of the call is taken. We must find a way of getting round that tit-for-tat allegation to get some balance and a wider understanding of what is going on, as Patrick Harvie said.

Alex Neil rightly mentioned the responsibility of all the agencies to support all victims of domestic abuse. It is fair to say that the role models that we provide to show our males what our society wants them to be might hinder their ability to put their hand up and say, "Hang on a minute—I am being abused." Notwithstanding the valuable, important and useful work that is being done by Women's Aid and by Victim Support, the stigma—or even the perception of stigma—might make that difficult for them. The helpline, albeit a small step, is a step forward in delivering some sort of parity in access to services.

We must go beyond the exchange of statistics. Notwithstanding the way in which they are used, they do not tell the full story. That is where the debate should move forward. Patrick Harvie was the only member who spoke in a broader sense about the issues around same-sex relationships, although Malcolm Chisholm mentioned the matter in passing. That is something else that needs to be completely investigated.

It was rather disappointing to hear members bandy figures about in what appeared to me to be two separate debates. We must move on from that and, as Johann Lamont says, improve our understanding of why domestic violence happens in our society.