A new Scottish charity, AMIS, is formally launched today (Friday 15 October 2010) to raise awareness of the number of men in Scotland on the receiving end of domestic abuse and draw attention to the lack of services designed to help them.
AMIS today publishes statistics from the 8 Scottish police forces that show an increase of around 9.4% in the number of incidents that they recorded as domestic abuse or violence with a man as the victim in 2009-10 compared to 2008-9. The statistics also reveal a reduction of 6.1% in the number of incidents recorded with a woman as victim compared to 2008-9.
Within the acknowledged limitations of police statistics* one in six of recorded victims was male yet the reality remains that after 10 years of the Scottish Parliament there are virtually no support services in Scotland designed to help men and their children affected by domestic abuse or violence.
Co-founder of AMIS, Alison Waugh, says, “Unfortunately there is still a culture of denial among many politicians and providers of services who do not want to acknowledge the evidence in front of their eyes that thousands of men every year in Scotland are victims of domestic abuse. They are abused first by their partner or ex partner and then again by the public narrative that does not want to know about the damage they and their children experience.”
The Scottish Government publishes its domestic abuse statistics in November each year. Through FOI enquiries AMIS has established that for the 10th year in a row the number of male victims recorded by police has risen substantially. Six of the eight forces (Central, Fife, Grampian, Strathclyde, Lothian and Borders and Tayside) recorded an increase in male victims. Dumfries and Galloway and Northern recorded a fall in both male and female victims.
Seven of the eight forces recorded a fall in the number of female victims, the exception being Tayside.
Strathclyde recorded the most dramatic change in the balance of reports with an 8.3% increase in the number of men recorded as victims (4,685 from 4,324 in 2008-9) and a 9.9% drop in the number of females recorded as victims (19,840 from 22,019 in 2008-9). Both figures include heterosexual and same sex relationships.The biggest percentage increase in the number of male victims recorded was in Fife – up 23.1% (580 in 2009-10 from 471 in 2008-9).
Co-founder of AMIS, Jackie Walls says, “The statistics don’t lie. Some people will say it’s because more men are coming forward to report. Others, that more women are being violent and abusive. Others, that public awareness of the reality out there is running ahead of the politicians. No one really knows. Whatever lies behind the figures we know that many public services look the other way when it comes to men who suffer domestic abuse. We have had enough of that one-sided approach.”
AMIS has been funded by the National Lottery Awards for All Scotland fund to establish an office in Dunfermline and a national telephone helpline that will be live in the evenings and weekends for men and their families. The helpline hours have been arranged to cover some of the time when the London-based Men’s Advice Line, funded by the Scottish Government since April 2010, is closed. The AMIS helpline will be staffed by volunteers.
AMIS will also offer awareness training to organisations that have contact with victims and will seek to work in collaboration with other agencies that wish to develop support services for men on the receiving end of abuse and their children. AMIS will take an inclusive approach to male victims of domestic abuse – including female partners and ex partners and same sex partners and ex partners.
AMIS evolved from the petition lodged by Alison Waugh and Jackie Walls at the Scottish Parliament Public Petitions Committee in December 2009. The petition was supported by over 400 signatories and is still live at Holyrood. The petition can be found at:
AMIS co-founder, Jackie Walls says, “It has been a long road already for us to get this far and we are grateful for the Awards For All funding that is allowing us to make a modest start to the enormous task ahead of us. It’s a small beginning but it is a beginning.”
* The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey: Partner Abuse research published by the Scottish Government in December 2009 indicated that police became aware of 35% of incidents of domestic abuse experienced by women in the preceding 12 months but only 8% of the incidents experienced by men.