The Victims’ Commissioner, Baroness Newlove, has made a landmark call for an ‘Ending Intimate Violence Against Men and Boys’ strategy that reflects submissions from members of the Men and Boys Coalition.
The recommendation on June 1, made in response to a Government consultation on proposed reforms to domestic violence laws, is the first time an official figure has called for a Government-wide strategy specifically to support male victims of intimate violence.
We warmly welcome this long overdue and essential policy development, which is also something the Coalition has campaigned for since our inception.
In her recommendation, Baroness Newlove said: “The current policy framework this consultation and Bill sit within, places all victims of domestic abuse as a victim of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) – even when the victims are male. The Mankind Initiative, who support male victims of domestic abuse, are clear that this risks male victims being overlooked in policy, local service provision and recognition.
“I call on Government to introduce a parallel ‘Ending Intimate Violence Against Men and Boys strategy’ to run alongside the ‘Violence Against Women and Girls’ (VAWG) policy and to ensure both take into account particular needs of victims within a same sex relationship.
“A particular issue that has been highlighted to me by charities like The Mankind Initiative is that historically, male victims are assessed by agencies using the Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Honour Based Violence (DASH 2009) Risk Identification, Assessment and Management Model as being at low risk purely because they are seen to be able to shoulder more of the abuse.
“This does not lessen the impact of the abuse they are suffering and support services need to respond to this. It is the crime that should be the focus, not the gender of the victim or perpetrator.”
In addition to The Mankind Initiative, Coalition members who contributed to the consultations were Dr Liz Bates, Ally Fogg, Dr Ben Hine, Families Need Fathers Cymru and Survivors Manchester.
The full list of 14 recommendations are available below, the call for an EIVAMB strategy are on pages 12 and 13.
The recommendations By Baroness Newlove also follow a major victory last year after consultations between Coalition members and the CPS, resulted in the CPS publishing their first ever policy announcement for supporting male victims, with eight specific commitments to improve their practice and procedures in the future.
In our December end-of-year newsletter we celebrated this, but added:
“We are still far from satisfied with where we have got to – our long-term goal is to persuade all Government bodies to cease including men and boys within their VAWG policies and instead develop a gender-inclusive, parallel strategy to support male survivors and prevent intimate violence against men and boys.”
This landmark recommendation by the Victims’ Commissioner is a major step forward towards this goal.
All of us here at the Coalition would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Baroness Newlove for taking this inclusive and principled view — one which tells male victim-survivors they matter and moves towards ensuring we provide the very best focus, support and recognition for all victims of these terrible crimes.