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Successful complaint to Advertising Standards Authority

6 October 2014 136 views No comments

EPA & RFFJ force LIFE Charity to withdraw misleading claims about domestic violence

The anti-abortion charity, LIFE, advertised for donations to fund a campaign to educate boys not to be violent to girls. The advert claimed that there was “ever more violence against women” and that “50,000 women a year are bullied into having an abortion by violent partners.” We knew both of these claims to be untrue, and we complained to the Advertising Standards Authority. LIFE was unable to substantiate the claims, and was forced to withdraw the advert, the fact of which is published by the ASA in its 1/10/14 list of withdrawn adverts.

Why, you may ask, is an anti-abortion charity campaigning about domestic violence at all? Initiatives of this sort, which are driven by feminist dogma rather than fact, contribute to boys’ negative view of themselves, and under-performance at school. So, why is LIFE jumping on this bandwagon?

The reason appears to be that they have been infiltrated by Womens Aid! We learned LIFE have been in touch with the Women’s Aid’s fundraising manager, which may account for why some of the bogus statistical claims LIFE now makes are ones we are more used to hearing from Womens Aid:
• “2 women a week are killed by a partner or ex-partner.” The correct figure, from the England and Wales crime survey, is 1.5 women a week.
• There is “ever more violence against women” and “an epidemic of violence towards young girls.” The England and Wales crime survey records domestic violence against both men/boys and women/girls has fallen by 70% over the last 20 years. It is not increasing. There is no epidemic. Quite the opposite; the rate of domestic violence is plummeting.
• “Although men also experienced it, intimate partner violence is overwhelmingly experienced by women…” The England and Wales crime survey records that 40% of victims of domestic violence & abuse are men, and that among married victims, 56% (i.e. the majority) are men. It is simply not true to claim that victims are overwhelmingly women.

The claim that “50,000 women a year are bullied into having an abortion by violent partners” is particularly absurd. The research which LIFE relied on made no such claim at all, and in our experience, any such bullying by a pregnant woman’s partner (which no-one would condone) is more likely to seek to prevent the abortion, rather than to cause it.

It would now seem quite wrong for LIFE to keep the donations made in response to these misleading claims. The claims were made in direct mailing letters. We shall now be writing to LIFE requesting that they write again to those same people, correcting the misleading information contained in the original letter, and offering a refund to any who believe they were misled into making a donation.

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