Myth: ‘Overwhelming majority’

The myth

The overwhelming majority of victims of domestic abuse are female.

The overwhelming majority of perpetrators of domestic abuse are male.

Why this is a problem

Some official figures show that the majority of domestic abuse victims are female, but the use of the term ‘overwhelming‘ implies that the number of male victims is so small that it is not important.

This mistaken belief has several consequences:

  • 99% of refuge places are for females
  • 99% of the funding goes to female support groups
  • 100% of those asked to give evidence to the parliamentary committees looking at the Domestic Abuse Bill 2020 were female and spoke exclusively about female victims
  • male victims are regularly not believed when they report to the police

The figures

It is, of course, impossible to have accurate figures for either gender as there is no absolute definition of domestic abuse and people report their abuse differently.

Office of National Statistics figures are compiled from a survey. This shows about 35% of victims are male and 65% female.

The police also compile data. This shows that 4x as many women as men report being victims. However, only 10% of male victims of Domestic Abuse report their abuse to the police, compared to 29% of women. If male victims felt as comfortable to report their abuse as female victims, the ratio of men and women reporting abuse would be nearer 50/50.

This research review shows that, of all domestic abuse events, over 50% are ‘situational couple violence’ where both parties are involved and the argument gets out of control. Of the remainder, where only one person is abusive and the other simply ‘takes it’, 2/3 of these are females abusing me and the men not reacting. These figures make a nonsense of the ‘overwhelmingly majority’ argument because, in over 80% of cases, either both parties are abusive or the female is the perpetrator.

It’s official

In 2019 Victoria Atkins, government minister, used the term ‘overwhelming’ also to describe the proportion of female DA victims.  A complaint by the Men and Boys Coalition to the Office for Statistics Regulation was upheld by them on 1st Oct 2019 in which they state that the use of the word ‘overwhelming’ would “imply that a larger proportion of victims are female than the statistics show.