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Women 3 times more likely to be arrested?

31 August 2009 152 views No comments

There were reports last week that women are three times more likely than men to be arrested for domestic violence.

This headline comes as a surprise to those of us who have personal experience of domestic disputes, and yet the press have simply run with the story without investigating what lies behind it. So, here is what the BBC and the Guardian should have reported, but didn’t:

The author is Marianne Hester. She is professor of Gender, Violence and International Policy at Bristol University. She is co-director of the Violence against Women Research Group and a patron of Women’s Aid. This is hardly the profile of someone who is approaching her work from a gender-neutral stand point, and there are other clues in the report itself, such as the way it contextualises and excuses female violence; e.g. “Women were more likely to use a weapon, although this was often to stop further violence from their partners.”

The sample size of Marianne Hester’s research is less than 100. The much larger samples from the British Crime Survey, together with CPS published data, show the very opposite of what her research reports, that it is men who are disproportionately targetted, not women.

The British Crime Survey shows 39% of victims of domestic violence are men, and 61% women, yet in only 10% of the prosecutions brought by the Crown Prosecution Service is the victim male.

How did Prof Hester reach her contrary conclusions? She worked it out on the basis of arrests-per-incident. One woman reported being a victim in 52 separate incidents. This enabled her to conclude that women were arrested 3 times more frequently than men, even though the report acknowledges that more men than women were actually arrested!

Academic posts in Gender Studies at universities throughout the land are generally occupied by career feminists, who are increasingly using use their positions to promote dogma rather than fact.

Why are the good reputations of our Universities being sacrificed in this way? Why is public money being spent to distort the truth? This is the story which journalists should be investigating and reporting, rather than simply printing whatever these academics feed them.

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