Consultation on Domestic Abuse Act Draft Guidance

Below is a submission to the Consultation on the draft Guidance regarding how the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 is to be implemented. One grows weary of these things. And I doubt that any notice will be taken of it – not even where I point out factual errors. The benefit, if there is one, is in illustrating to other parties (you) the manner in which the “system”, the establishment, promulgates an enormous and persistent lie. A second benefit might be to have the evidence, for future use, that those in authority were in possession of guilty knowledge.

Mostly the commentary below is stand-alone, but occasionally you will need to look up the relevant paragraph in the draft Guidance. The numbered headings are the questions asked by the Consultation proforma.

0.  Comments on Executive Summary

I must comment separately on the Executive Summary because this is the only place in which the phrase “Domestic abuse, a form of violence against women and girls” occurs. This appeals, I believe, to the legalistic claim that “violence against women and girls” is a category of crime which includes male victims. To protest that there is no intention to mislead in this strange designation is disingenuous beyond belief.

This very obvious strategy to hide male victimisation is compounded in the next sentence which refers to “an estimated 2.3 million adults aged 16 to 74 in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse, the majority of whom were women”. People not familiar with the ONS statistics for many years past would certainly not have received the impression that one-in-three adult victims of DA is a man; that is around 700,000 adult men are victims per year. These male victims are hidden under the designation that their victimisation is actually “violence against women and girls”.

Perpetuating this long-established verbal legerdemain does nothing to enhance the credibility of the DA Act, the Guidance or the forthcoming DA Strategies. The kick in the teeth that this delivers to male victims adds to the injustice of vanishingly little genuine service provision for men, facts which are not unrelated.

  1. Do you have any comments on Chapter 1 (‘Objectives’) in terms of content or clarity?

Protect and Support Victims

  • Domestic Abuse Commissioner: Leaving aside the unfortunate title (one assumes the incumbent does not actually commission domestic abuse) there is no established need for such a post, with its sweeping powers. But its creation is worse than unnecessary as it stems from a lobby seeking to further increase its power. The post is – and always will be – filled by an individual from the same ideological stable that has worked so assiduously over the years to promote the very sex-skewed perception of DA that the Act and the Guidance embody.
  • DAPNs/DAPOs: There is no shortage of injunction orders relating to DA already. The purpose of introducing the DAPNs is to push the seniority of police officer authorised to issue a DAPN down a level and so make their use that much more frequent. It remains to be seen how great an increase in allegations of DA in the family courts will result from the introduction of DAPNs/DAPOs, but the current 50% is already preposterous. Further increases will simply amount to aiding people willing to make false allegations, rather than protecting anyone.
  • The provision to place “a new duty on tier one local authorities to provide support to victims of domestic abuse and their children in refuges and other safe accommodation” is an example of how sex-bias is introduced without the unwary noticing. 98% of refuges are for women (and children) only. So this provision further ensures funding will flow only to those who already have refuge provision, and hence almost entirely to one sex and not the other. To those who have, more shall be given; those who have not get nothing.

Video Testimony: A basic Principle of Common Law is the right to face one’s accuser. This provision annihilates this Principle in the Civil/Family jurisdiction. It is wholly wrong and bears testimony to the capture of the legal/judicial process by ideological actors.  

  • Do you have any comments on Chapter 2 (‘Understanding Domestic Abuse’) in terms of content or clarity?

Page 12, para 4: states “Women are more likely to experience repeat victimisation, be physically injured…”. These claims are misleading. For example, in the CSEW report “Focus on: Violent Crime and Sexual Offences, year ending March 2015 – Appendix Tables”, Table 4.15 indicates that repeat victimisation is insignificantly different between the sexes, whilst Table 4.17 shows a larger percentage of male victims (29%) than female (23%) suffered “any physical injury”. The repeat victimisation data is this…

Page 14, Definition of DA: The DA Act is inconsistent with Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015. The Guidance, consistent with Part 1 of the DA Act, includes a definition of DA. Behaviour is “abusive” if it consists of any of the following—

  • physical or sexual abuse;
  • violent or threatening behaviour;
  • controlling or coercive behaviour;
  • economic abuse (see subsection (4));
  • psychological, emotional or other abuse;

and it does not matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a course of conduct.

In respect of controlling or coercive behaviour, this conflicts with the Statutory Guidance issued in association with Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 which states the definition of Controlling or Coercive Behaviour (CCB) to be,

  • Controlling behaviour: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
  • Coercive behaviour: a continuing act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.”

In addition, the controlling or coercive behaviour must take place “repeatedly or continuously”; the pattern of behaviour must have a “serious effect” on the victim; and the behaviour of the perpetrator must be such that they knew or “ought to know” that it would have a serious effect on the victim.

The two definitions are contradictory in respect of the need, or otherwise, for a repeat pattern of offending rather than a single occurrence.

Page 16, para 17: Appeal is made to the “Femicide Census”, which is the work of a single individual, with no status, who takes data from newspaper reports. This is not a secure basis for law. The term “Femicide” is an ideological term invented for propaganda purposes, not a legal term.

Page 17, para 19: “Abuse may also arise out of casual relationships”: It is not clear what this para is intended to convey. What is the Guidance? Is it that a “casual relationship” will be regarded as sufficient to satisfy the “personally connected” criterion of the offence, or the opposite? The para does not say.

Pages 20-23, Child-to-Parent abuse: Could the emergence of this as an “issue” be related to the impact of these same laws in removing adult men from the house? Just a thought. No adult male in the Case Study on P.22, I note.

Page 23, para 46: Quote “At the centre of all these abusive behaviours is the perpetrator’s desire to exercise power and control over the victim”. This is false. It is a statement of ideological belief which is contradicted by empirical evidence. Research into the aetiology of domestic abuse shows that power and control accounts for only a small proportion of IPV, probably in single figures of percent. The paper “A Test of Johnson’s Assumptions Regarding Sex Differences and the Role of Control in Intimate Partner Violence” by Elizabeth Bates and Nicola Graham-Kevan (Partner Abuse, 7(1), 2016) concludes, “these results do not support the male control theory of IPV. Instead, they fit the view that IPV does not have a special etiology, and is better studied within the context of other forms of aggression.”

Page 25, para 55: What constitutes controlling or coercive behaviour (CCB): This repeats the definition outlined in the statutory guidance issued under section 77 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 and quoted above BUT it fails to include the part at which that guidance conflicts with the DA Act, namely in respect of CCB being a pattern of behaviour. The 2015 Act Guidance includes this rider: In addition, the controlling or coercive behaviour must take place “repeatedly or continuously”. In contrast, the 2021 DA Act, under the general definition of any form of DA states, “it does not matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a course of conduct.” This is a flat contradiction which the Guidance fails to either expose or clarify.

Page 34: “Intersectionality”: This is a loaded term which carries ideological baggage and should not be used.

Page 36, Para 90: “The March 2020 CSEW shows that 4.4% of women aged 60-74 were victims of domestic abuse”. Why are men in this age range not mentioned? The same source shows that there is little difference in victimisation with age, namely that around 1-in-3 victims is a man, including in this older age group. As with so many other places in the Guidance, statements about female victimisation without mentioning male victimisation convey an inaccurate impression that it is women who are ”overwhelmingly” the victims. This is the false narrative that has been promulgated in this area since – well, forever – and the Guidance simply continues to consolidate this false narrative.

Page 40, para 107: “Domestic abuse perpetrated towards women by men is a form of violence against women and girls (VAWG) and is linked to wider gender inequality, misogyny and perceptions around harmful gender norms”. No it isn’t. As noted above under para 46, research does not support the power & control theory of IPV. Moreover, IPV is, if anything, closer to sex-parity than implied by the CSEW’s 1-in-3 statistic. For example, the paper Testing Predictions From the Male Control Theory of Men’s Partner Violence by Elizabeth Bates, Nicola Graham‐Kevan and John Archer (Aggressive Behavior 40 (2014) 42-55) concludes,

Contrary to the male control theory, women were found to be more physically aggressive to their partners than men were, and the reverse pattern was found for aggression to same‐sex non‐intimates. Furthermore, there were no substantial sex differences in controlling behavior, which significantly predicted physical aggression in both sexes. IPV was found to be associated with physical aggression to same‐sex non-intimates, thereby demonstrating a link with aggression outside the family. Using Johnson’s typology, women were more likely than men to be classed as “intimate terrorists,” which was counter to earlier findings. Overall, these results do not support the male control theory of IPV. Instead, they fit the view that IPV does not have a special etiology, and is better studied within the context of other forms of aggression.”

Pages 40/431, para 108: Quote “Research also suggests that when controlling or coercive behaviour (CCB) is taken into account, the differences between the experiences of male and female victims becomes more apparent, with the majority of victims being women”. This is false, as shown by ONS research. At present there is no set of survey questions which is agreed as suitably indicative of CCB. The paper referenced, by Myhill, deploys “fear” as a filter in the definition of CCB, a strategy designed to skew apparent victims to the female, and so is a biased result. (Moreover, his dataset is the 2008/9 CSEW, which is rather old). There is more recent research…

In April 2019 the ONS reported their research into various sets of questions which might be suitable for measuring CCB. The ONS noted that some of their expert group suggested that the sex difference would be larger for CCB than for the usual definition of non-physical abuse used in the CSEW. But crucially the outcome of the ONS research was actually that, “Our findings are not consistent with this expectation”. This flatly contradicts what para 108 asserts. I look forward to the para being corrected.

In fact, for controlling or coercive behaviour by a partner or ex-partner, the ONS found that the difference between men and women was smaller than for other measures of non-physical abuse, namely by only 1.1 percentage points (2.2% for women compared with 1.2% for men). This is more recent and more thorough than Myhill’s paper, so it is odd that the Guidance does not mention it. Who is advising you? It is unlikely they are unaware of this ONS research.

In passing I note that the ONS also focus on fear as a defining characteristic of CCB, but opine that “fear of losing contact with your children” is not real fear. This is a claim so preposterous that one almost has admiration for anyone with the sheer nerve to assert it. What parent, faced with a choice between a good beating or never seeing their children again, would choose the latter? Arguably, only death is worse than losing your children (and perhaps not even that). It is hard not to interpret this odd opinion cited by the ONS as arising more from a desire to avoid CCB becoming dominated by male victims than by any logic, evidence or compassion.

Research now emerging from non-ideological academics is revealing that male DV victims experience extremely high levels of CCB (“Male Victims of Coercive Control: Experiences and Impact”, by Nicola Graham-Kevan and Deborah Powney) involving the same types of CCB as women plus types which are generally specific to male victims. The authors conclude, “The findings demonstrate male victims experience persistent and severe patterns of coercive control similar to those experienced by female victims”.

Page 41, para 109: Quote, “Women experience higher rates of repeated victimisation and are much more likely to be seriously hurt or killed than male victims of domestic abuse”. Women are more likely to be killed by DV, true (unless one counts DV induced suicide, for which the matter is an open question). The claim about repeat victimisation is false (see the graph under para 4, above). The claim that female victims are much more likely to be seriously hurt (short of death) is also false. From the CSEW March 2018, Table 14-15 31.8% of male DA victims suffer “any physical injury” compared to 22.7% of female victims. Moreover, 6.4% of male DA victims compared to 3.8% of female victims suffer the more severe categories of physical injury (severe bruising, bleeding, internal injuries, broken teeth, broken bones). This para should be corrected.

The relative prevalence by sex of sexual abuse is not covered by the usual surveys in the UK. The perpetration of sexual abuse by women, against either minors or adults (of either sex), remains a taboo and as such its prevalence is unknown. The de facto law in respect of sexual offences simply follows popular prejudice, namely to regard women’s sexual offences – especially against adult male victims – as being unbelievable or harmless. Conviction statistics for sexual offences in no way reflect relative prevalence but only reflect societal prejudice, arising as it does from ancient skews in gender perception.

In contrast, there is a massive academic literature on women’s sexual offending, even though these rarely come to light in the context of criminal justice or child protection. Surveys in the USA do ask questions about “made to penetrate”, i.e., men being subject to non-consensual sexual intercourse by women (often involving force, not only coercion). For example, Stemple, Flores and Meyer in  Sexual victimization perpetrated by women: Federal data reveal surprising prevalence (Aggression and Violent Behavior, 34, 302-311) report that the National Intimate and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) found that men and women had a similar incidence of non-consensual sex, the survey implying an estimated 1.6 million women and 1.7 million men in the USA were raped or made to penetrate in 2011. (NB: In some States’ laws, biological females can rape, unlike English law). Being “made to penetrate”, the form of non-consensual sex that is particularly applicable to men, was found to be perpetrated by women in 79% of cases. The same source reports a wide range of other sources with similar near-parity of non-consensual sex between the sexes, with male victimisation being overwhelmingly by women.  

Data is beginning to emerge from the UK on this issue. For example, the “forced to penetrate” surveys by Siobhan Weare and co-workers, e.g., here. Also, Graham-Kevan and Powney, in Male Victims of Coercive Control: Experiences and Impact, report that one in five men responding to their survey of male DA victims was forced to penetrate as an ongoing pattern of abuse.

All these things are hidden in our culture, and the Guidance continues this long tradition of doing so. It is not progressive; it is deeply conservative (i.e., it conserves the status quo).

Page 41, paras 110, 111: Quote “There remains within society a view that men cannot be victims of domestic abuse”. True, but rather disingenuous given that the whole tenor of this Guidance (and all Government documents on DA) is to promote this error. The reference to men’s “reluctance to seek help” is the predictable follow-up. It is squarely in line with the obligatory politically correct response to any reference to a male disadvantage: blame men themselves. It is true that male DA victims are less likely to seek help than female victims. But it might be worth adding that this is because they believe – with perfect accuracy – that they will not get any help. This is largely due to the funding which is funnelled almost entirely to the women’s sector, and this occurs because of the gendered perceptions of DA which are reinforced by this very Guidance, and by every policy since the dawn of time. However, there is another reason: men calling the police over DA are – and they know it – likely to be arrested themselves, or at least told to leave the house.  

Page 48, para 133: Human Trafficking: see Modern Slavery.

Page 53, para 162: FGM is rightly illegal. However, the non-therapeutic genital mutilation of male minors (euphemistically called “circumcision”) is also illegal under the assault laws. The common perception that it is legal is a confusion between the de jure and de facto law: it is tolerated, not legal. Just as FGM is child abuse, so is MGM, for precisely the same reason. If MGM were to be considered justified by a culture’s custom & practice, then so would FGM be – a conclusion no one wants to reach. The present status quo is blatant sexism driven by fear of religious minorities.

Page 54, paras 163-166: Modern Slavery:  After repeatedly stating that women are the majority victims of DA, I note that, in contrast, the fact that Modern Slavery is the one VAWG crime for which the majority of victims are male is not mentioned. Perhaps it could be.

Page 55, para 167: This repeats the power & control & misogyny claim regarding the aetiology of DA, which is false (see under paras 46 and 107). It is worth pointing out that a recent FOI asking for the evidence justifying the Victims’ Commissioner’s claim of “misogyny throughout the criminal justice system” is now subject to a complaint to the Lord Chancellor for having received no satisfactory reply.

  • Do you have any comments on Chapter 3 (‘Impact on Victims’) in terms of content or clarity?

Para 173: Of all the biased statements in this Guidance, this may be the worst: “It is estimated that around three women a week take their own lives as a result of domestic abuse”. The authors will be aware that suicide is 3 to 4 times more frequent in men than in women. The authors will be aware that 92% of non-resident parents after parental separation are men, and that child contact problems are the chief source of distress resulting from parental separation. And DA is strongly associated with parental separation. These observations would lead one to suspect that, if there is a relationship between DA and suicide, it will affect men more than women. Yet men are not mentioned in this context. They are not mentioned, of course, in the reference cited, that of Sylvia Walby (then of the “Women & Equality Unit”, Leeds university). The reason is the same – that male victims do not count and so are not counted. It is yet another example of blatant sexism, replete throughout.  

In any case, it is well known that suicidality is related, not only to being a victim of DA but also to being a perpetrator – not surprisingly because half of DA is mutual (another inconvenient fact that this Guidance fails to acknowledge). So well is this known that the DASH/Safelives Domestic Violence Risk Identification Checklist – the standard tool used to measure a person’s risk of DA – asks about the abuser’s threats of suicide as a contributor to the risk of the other party.

Para 175: Quote “There are strong links between women’s experience of domestic abuse and coercive relationships, and their offending”. This statement is clearly intended to suggest that women’s victimisation by DA is the cause of their offending. Where is the evidence for causality in the direction implied? The two sources cited are from the MOJ, not a source which has the capacity to answer this psychological / sociological question. Moreover, is the association just as strong for men? And, for either sex, might the association be more to do with correlated third factors, such as socioeconomics, mental health, addiction, etc.? Or because the “experience of DA” is also strongly related to the perpetration of DA, and hence being inclined to violence? In short, the implications of the statement go well beyond what is supportable and are probably false.

In passing I note that the Lord Farmer reference actually gives data on “criminological need” by sex, and the differences between men and women are not great. Moreover, as there are 24 times more men in prison, there are vastly more men who – by Farmer’s assessment – would be just as deserving of the same considerations as the average woman. But this rather obvious observation will not be welcome, because the object of such exercises is to rationalise innate gendered propensities – namely to exercise compassion towards women but impose discipline and punishment upon men. I have no difficulty with the former, but I do have difficulty with such a blatantly sexist approach being pursued with ever greater determination by a culture which preposterously pretends to do so in the name of equality.

Para 177: Quote “The majority of women who experience homelessness have been abused”. This claim smacks of a desperation to paint as bleak a picture for women as possible. The Maycock et al reference cited relates to the Republic of Ireland, not the UK, and is based on the experiences of just 40 Irish women. I would suggest this is not a secure basis for making this extravagant claim.

Para 193: The joint Cafcass / Women’s Aid research from 2017 is a poor choice as a source of the percentage of child contact family proceedings involving DA as it was based on a small sample, the sample was taken from Cafcass case files, and the designation as involving DA was based on the Cafcass officer’s report. Court papers were not used. There are better sources which indicate that the figure is close to 50% rather than two-thirds (not least the MOJ’s June 2020 “Harm Report Literature Review”, of which more below).

  • Do you have any comments on Chapter 4 (‘Agency Response to Domestic Abuse’) in terms of content or clarity?

Para 197: Quote “Agencies involved in the identification of, or response to, domestic abuse should consider the Government’s national strategies on Violence Against Women and Girls and Domestic Abuse” – in view of all the preceding remarks, and in view of the dearth of male-specialist support services, this is not comforting however much proponents might insist that Violence Against Women and Girls does not mean violence against women and girls.

Para 199: Quote “victims of domestic abuse with protected characteristics (as defined by section 4 of the Equality Act 2010) may face additional barriers to accessing support”. Very true – and males, under the protected characteristic of “sex”, are a case in point. But oddly, I don’t think that was what the authors had in mind. Why not?

Para 201: Quote “there is extensive evidence on the links between women’s criminalised behaviour and being victims of domestic abuse” – see under para 175. The Government’s Female Offender Strategy explicitly undermines the principle that everyone is equal before the law, making justice a matter of sex. The rationalisation of this policy is based on sentiment, not empirical fact. The policy is probably in violation of the Equality Act. Whilst that Act makes provision for “affirmative action” when people with a protected characteristic are under-represented in a certain area, surely this was not intended to justify reducing further (by fiat) the prison population of the sex that is already less than 5% of that population.

Agency Response to DA Overall: There is no mention in this long section of the dearth of provision to male victims. It deserves several pages of detailed statistics showing just how lacking support is for men. Its omission reveals the bias implicit throughout.

Para 221: the link “guidance for universities on responding to such abuse in higher education communities during the pandemic” is broken.

Para 231: Quote “Social workers should also be aware of the ways in which perpetrators may attempt to use the relationship between the non-abusive parent and child as a tool of coercive control. They may also seek to manipulate the relationship between the child and the non-abusive parent”. Excellent advice, I fully agree.

Para 256: Quote “Research has shown that women who have experienced domestic abuse are three times more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health problem than women who have not.” Why is the equivalent finding for male victims not given? If there is no source which considers this question for male victims, why not? What does this tell you about endemic sexism?

Para 259: Quote “Almost all victims interact with health services at some point and, for many victims, it may be the only service they are able to access alone and feel safe to disclose.” Men access health care rather less than women, but men disclosing to their GP that they are a victim of DA are commonly disbelieved.

Para 287: Quote “Part 4 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 introduces a new statutory duty on local authorities, placing clearer accountability on local areas to ensure the needs of victims within refuges and other forms of domestic abuse safe accommodation are met in a consistent way across England” (my emphasis). And those who don’t already have a refuge (i.e., men) won’t be helped by this new duty, please note.

Para 289: Quote “Under the duty, local authorities should consider the specific needs of all victims within safe accommodation” – same point again: to those that have, more shall be given; those that have not will receive nothing. The authors know this full well, of course. These words are intended for others.

Para 290: Quote “Refuge services are a core component of the housing response to domestic abuse which provide a crucial form of provision for victims, including children, who are no longer safe at home.” False. There is no escape to a refuge for children being abused by their mother. Ignoring male victims means ignoring female perpetrators which means ignoring 50% of abused children.

Para 291: Quote: “We recognise the need to ensure that all survivors are able to access safe accommodation”. I don’t think so. The rest of this para makes clear that only female “survivors” are considered to constitute “all survivors”.

Para 292: Quote “The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government have also produced guidance on improving access to social housing for victims of domestic abuse who are in a refuge or other form of temporary accommodation.” The same point again – this time giving priority housing on the basis of having access to a refuge, available (to an extremely good approximation) only to one sex.

Paras 293 – 296: Much of the sentiments expressed here could be expressed of men and boys too, but with the additional consideration that there is also major bias to the disadvantage of men (and boys) in being imprisoned or in a young offenders institution and there are 24 times as many men in prison as women (and about 30 times more boys than girls).

Para 298: Re: the range of measures to help claimants / jobcentre-plus: Ye, Gods, that’s news to me. No incentive to make false allegations there, then. (Readers should look up para 298).

Para 300: Why not mention here that 25% of those calls to the police are from male victims?

Para 301: Quote “by its nature domestic abuse involves repeat victimisation”. False. The CSEW data (see graph under para 4) indicates more than half of the victims of DA who feature in the CSEW statistics are victims once only.  

Para 303: Quote “The guidance outlines the duty of officers to take positive action in all stages of the police response to domestic abuse to ensure that victims, including children are protected”. Yes, it does indeed say that. And we know what that means in practice. It means, in the overwhelming majority of cases, that either the man is arrested or the man is simply asked to leave his own home. It makes no difference if it was the man who called the police as the victim. The police will not want to put a woman on the streets at night, and the police will not want to remove a mother and leave the man in charge of children if they have any doubt at all about who is abusive. (The reverse situation is safe for the police – the police will never be criticised for leaving children with their mother even if she turns out to abuse them). There is neither justice nor protection for anyone in this – except for the police putting themselves beyond criticism. But the police are in an impossible position.  

Paras 307-8: Repeated references to the Government’s Female Offender Strategy merely highlights the sex-bias that is systemic throughout the justice process. For women, bad behaviour is a symptom of their victimisation and need for assistance; for men, bad behaviour is only that, and indicates a need for punishment.

Tools Available for the Police

It is here that the true role of this entire edifice of mendacity is exposed most clearly: namely, as a tool of the authoritarian State. The use of “perpetrator” is pernicious. Throughout it means nothing more than “the accused” against whom there will often be no evidence whatsoever, only an accusation. Those innocents who still believe we have a justice system worthy of the name will be incredulous that all these powers will frequently be brought to bear upon men who have done no wrong, yet find themselves incarcerated and removed from their own homes.

I realise that what is written in this section is simply what the DA Act says, which the Guidance cannot change. Nevertheless, I take the opportunity to expose the abuse of power that is being established through the agency of DA “protection”…

Para 312: DVPNs “can allow for protective measures to be put in place for a victim following a domestic incident of violence or the threat of violence involving a perpetrator aged 18 or over. These may be used, for example, where there is no substantive criminal offence to prosecute, where the case has been designated as No Further Action (NFA) or where the perpetrator is to be cautioned or bailed without any conditions”. Here “victim” means “accuser” and “perpetrator” means “the accused”. This calm statement shows how these notices permit impositions on citizens without evidence or trial. Officially, as there is no evidence, a prosecution case cannot be made and so the case may be designated NFA…but these processes allow swinging further action even when officially NFA, and these actions will separate a man from his home and children. Here “no further action” means that there is no justification for further action but further action will be taken in another way nevertheless.

“Breach of DVPO is not a criminal offence” – no, but part of the escalation of State powers against citizens is that breach of the new DAPOs, which will replace the DVPOs, will be a criminal offence. A notorious ruse by accusers is to phone the accused whilst under a DVPO. He has only to answer the call to have breached the DVPO. The breach has to be proved only at the civil standard in a magistrates court, and can result in imprisonment for two months. All this can be engineered by a belligerent accuser with no evidence.

Para 314: What is not mentioned here is the key difference between the out-going DVPNs and the new DAPNs, namely the rank of police officer who can authorise them. A DVPN requires a Superintendent. The new DAPN can be approved by Inspectors, of which there are far more in the police forces. The intention is to make their use more routine and hence to increase their frequency of use.

While the breach of a DAPN may not technically be a criminal offence, the DA Act states that, “If a constable has reasonable grounds for believing that a person is in breach of a domestic abuse protection notice, the constable may arrest the person without warrant”. Digest that. A constable can arrest you, based on his (or her) own judgment over a matter which, even if correct, is “not technically a criminal offence”.

Observations on the excessive State power granted under the Act / Guidance,

  • They grant the express power to use electronic monitoring (‘tagging’) to monitor a perpetrator’s compliance with a DAPO.
  • All DAPOs will include notification requirements, which will require perpetrators to notify the police of their name and address and of any changes to this information.
  • Breach of a DAPO will be a criminal offence, carrying a maximum penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment.

Recall that the term “perpetrator” does not imply that the person in question has been found guilty of any offence. Hence, these arrangements provide a mechanism for taking away the liberty of an individual without meaningful investigation. It violates the spirit of habeas corpus if not the formal requirements. Breaching the terms of a DAPO is subject to such simple entrapments that the process provides a convenient mechanism for criminalising, and perhaps imprisoning, a man without meaningful investigation of the initial accusation. By this point he is criminalised by virtue of the breach of the DAPO, the original allegation receding into irrelevance.

A man may also find himself in a cell because he has failed to provide an address – a difficulty created by the process itself when it removes him from his home.

The option to deal with a breach of a DAPO as a civil contempt of court is expected to take the “victim’s” views into account (see Government guidance). As these issues frequently take place in the context of family court disputes, the “victim” is likely to prefer this route as the aim from the start was to remove the man from the family, which these processes facilitate.

Para 343: This para refers to the June 2020 Ministry of Justice report “Assessing Risk of Harm to Children and Parents in Private Law Children Cases” which “raised concerns about the experience of domestic abuse survivors and their children in the family court”. This report (actually two reports) was produced under the supervision of a panel whose “experts” were all of one ideological persuasion – and this fact drew severe criticism when the panel was first announced in May 2019. From this point the nature of the reports that would emerge was predictable. The authors of both reports were representatives of a radical gender-political perspective and the reports themselves reflected this in their bias and lack of rigour. The basis for this claim has been laid down in the application for a Judicial Review of this “harm report” by Terrence White and Benjamin Garrett, an application which has now proceeded to the Court of Appeal.

  • Do you have any comments on Chapter 5 (‘Working Together to Tackle Domestic Abuse’) in terms of content or clarity?

The MARAC system is promoted in terms of the efficiency gained by bringing together all involved services and parties. What is not mentioned is that MARAC acts as a cartel or closed-shop. Those not invited are cut out of the process. This is what specialist providers of support to male victims can find. By this means, MARAC acts to further consolidate and enhance the sex-biased ideological perspectives that pervade the whole of the DA industry.

  • Do you have any comments on Chapter 6 (‘Commissioning Response to Domestic Abuse’) in terms of content or clarity?

Para 422: The Public Sector Equality Duty does indeed, as stated, require public authorities, whilst exercising their functions, to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination. The Equality Act 2010 also sanctions positive action in favour of people with a protected characteristic where they are under-represented, in order to achieve improved equality. This can be interpreted as focussing on a particular group based on “need”. This is what this para refers to when it states that “a local authority might need to commission single-sex services”. The entire narrative on DA is designed to present women as those in need in this respect, so that services (i.e., funding) is funnelled into the women’s sector. We all know this – but we are not supposed to mention it. And yet it is clear that where the inequality lies is the recognition of male victims. We all know this too – but it is impolite to say it. Local authorities may indeed be cognisant of this in some cases. But their insistence that services be more equitable will hardly be achieved if the funding still goes to local organisations with a deeply held ideological commitment to one sex only. (I emphasise that not all local DA services meet that description, but many do).  

Para 424: Quote “Part 4 of the 2021 Act introduces a new statutory duty on local authorities, placing clearer accountability on local areas to ensure the needs of victims within refuges and other forms of domestic abuse safe accommodation are met in a consistent way across England”. I make the point again that this stipulation will drive funding to the women’s sector alone, as 98% of refuge provision is for women: to those that have, more shall be given – the rest go hang. This is quite deliberate. The sex-bias we see in the service sector is facilitated by the legislation.  

Para 428: Quote “The Violence Against Women and Girls National Statement of Expectations sets out what local areas are expected to put in place to ensure their response to VAWG issues is as collaborative, robust and effective as it can be so that all female victims and survivors can get the help they need”. I have inserted a word to make the statement accurate.

Paras 433, 434: The links to Respect’s Standard are broken. Respect’s Standard for perpetrators is specific to male perpetrators offending against women. Many of the standards linked here are for victims, not perpetrators. I am not aware of any standard for working with female perpetrators. In practice female perpetrators are sent on the Freedom Programme, which tells them they are actually the victim. This does not help them, or anyone else.

  • Are there any overarching ways you think the guidance could be improved? Please provide comments.

See all the above.

  • Do you think the case studies are helpful? If there are any case studies which you did not find helpful, please provide additional comments ensuring you refer to the case study to which your comment relates.

2 case studies were neutral; 1 was of a male victim; 7 were of female victims. This does not reflect societal frequencies of DA. 3 male to 6 female victim cases would be fairer.

  • Is there anything missing in the guidance that you would like to see included?

In the section on Agency Response to DA there should be several pages devoted to the detailed statistics of what support services are available, by sex, and the organisations which receive the funding for those services.

17 thoughts on “Consultation on Domestic Abuse Act Draft Guidance

  1. Andrea Innes

    I wonder if you would mind getting in touch? I’d very much like to use your excellent analisis to help with submissions to the consultation document. I’m involved with helping supporters of PA as abuse and hesistate to use your material without your permission or consent. I can offer references that vouch for me if you need them. Wasn’t sure how else to contact you as time is short…

    Reply
  2. Carl Orsborn

    Petty:

    ‘ … the Lord Farmer reference actual gives data on’. Should be ‘actually’.

    ‘… arsing as it does’. Probably should be ‘arising as they do’.

    Document definitely gets a little more emotional and opinionated as the paragraphs pass. Well done.

    Reply
    1. William Collins Post author

      Thanks – corrected. I find it impossible to proof read my own stuff – and failing eyesight doesn’t help.

      Reply
  3. John Thomas

    Some of the supporting language surrounding the challenge needs to be toned down as it maybe perceived as confrontational or even aggressive?

    Reply
    1. Douglas

      A Minister for Men (and boys) is definitely needed. However, the position must not be under the Department for Equalities which is structurally under the Minister for Women (though currently combined). We must have a Minister at the same level as the Minister for Women (a cabinet position), with the Department for Equalities as a separate Ministry under neither of them.

      Reply
  4. Vincent McGovern

    Truly excellent work William Collins. This work needs to be distributed as widely as possible, even if as you say to demonstrate at a later date how biased this lawmaking is. There is a desperate need for society to understand how biased the system is, and to correct it. Equality for all!

    Reply
  5. Nick

    In your submission, posted here at least, there is one unfortunate typo albeit one that succinctly sums up whoever put together this draft guidance referred to in your submission.

    Page 41, para 109: in your second paragraph I believe you meant arising rather than “arsing”. Pointed out only for correction.

    Many thanks for your writing here and it has given me much comfort in a world that’s seemingly blind to my own abuse at the hands of a damaged woman.

    Reply
  6. Nigel Johnson

    Thank you for this exellent work. Could I hope that this analysis will be given to the members of the APPG on men and boys. Having worked in the public sector for 30 years I must make clear the importance of such “Guidance”. Fewer public bodies ever take any pains to even the most cursory analysis of even their own data let alone the ONS or research institutes. And will simply copy this guidance into their instructions to staff.
    So the flimsy and shoddy piece of work will be replicated accross the country. It is by the way quite usual, such documents are in general drafted by jobbing Civil Servants who copy and paste stuff from pressure groups rather than engage in serious work. Even if one or two members of the APPG bestirred themselves to delve into this they will have a significant impact.

    Reply
  7. Mike Bell

    Great work again, Mr Collins. However, I think this is not correct: “I doubt that any notice will be taken of it “.
    If you compare this version of the Guidance with the original (June 2020) you will see a significant improvement. they have taken on several of the points we made in the earlier consultation.

    Keep up the good work.

    Reply
    1. Nigel Johnson

      And thank you for your work too. It should not be the case I’m sure but the reality is that comparatively few people are actually involved in such processes and there is very little of substance. It is the biggest mistake made to assume public bodies actually make much use of their own research or data. The actual process is “the least line of resistance” by which is who makes the most fuss. Making the right fuss in the right place with the right people at the right time is “the game”.
      Almost any “consultation” on any topic emanating from any ministry will not meet the most basic standards of including broad representation. Indeed the way they are done and promoted looks like precluding wide representation is to be avoided at all costs.
      Maybe it should not be like this, but that’s how it is.

      Reply
  8. Michael Porter

    It’s The Squeaky Wheel That Gets The Oil,
    as always.
    Logic, justice and fair reason have little to do with it as Rick proves – yet again.
    My view is that the main driving force behind this is political, and in the ubiquitous pursuit of Power.
    The first step of this is the creation of two (or more) mutually hostile groups who will form the foot soldiers of the engine of Societal Collapse – a prerequisite and essential requirement of a-Democratic imposition.

    Reply

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