Northern Ireland is the only one of the four UK nations which does not have a specific strategy for addressing Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). Instead they have a gender neutral strategy for tackling domestic abuse. There have been calls recently in the NI Executive to create a separate strategy in NI for VAWG. The quote in the graphic which heads this post was the initial reaction of the NI’s Minister of Justice when this suggestion was first mooted. Legally she was on firm ground because Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 imposes a public sector duty to promote equality of opportunity between men and women.
She seems to have back-peddled since. The NI Executive has now put out a call for views: Consultation – New Domestic and Sexual Abuse Strategy and Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy.
The Executive is proposing a two-tier strategy, one gender neutral and one for VAWG. We know where Consultations like this lead. You can be sure that a VAWG strategy will be forthcoming, despite the Minister of Justice’s initial (correct) words, above, and despite it being of questionable legality.
A campaign has been launched to use this opportunity to press for a parallel Strategy to address domestic abuse of boys and men in Northern Ireland (BAMS4NI, Boys And Men Strategy for Northern Ireland). If successful, the intention would be to use this as a springboard for such strategies in the other three nations (of which more below).
The approach is that, by creating a parallel strategy for boys and men, the NI Executive would retain compliance with the Section 75 public sector equality duty whilst also satisfying the demands for a VAWG strategy. You can help.
What you can do to help is explained in this Supporters’ Brief, and also summarised below. The Campaign Brief includes useful material you could use.
The call states that the audience is “anyone from any background”. Choose whichever of the three options below is most suitable for you…
Respond to the quick Public Survey
Respond to the quick Victims’ Survey
Submit a Detailed Response either online or by email. (It need not be all that detailed, but this option gives you the opportunity to make points that cannot be conveyed by multiple choice answers).
Recall that the thrust of the campaign is to present a case for a strategy for boys and men. My own “detailed response” is here, and you can plunder it for text or ideas if you wish.
The outlook for a strategy for boys and men in the other three UK nations is not as bleak as you might think.
In her 2020/21 annual report, the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, Vera Baird, stated that “The Home Office needs to offer a separate strategy for developing the rights and support services for men and boys who are victims of interpersonal violence of a physical or sexual nature”. The Victims’ Commissioner reiterated this position in September 2021, stating that “It may be that the scale of men and boys’ victimisation is not currently being fully considered”.
In Scotland, the governing Party, the SNP, included a commitment to produce a strategy for boys and men in their election Manifesto: “We will fund resources for services which support men who are victims of rape and domestic abuse, and we will establish a national strategy on ending intimate and sexual violence against men and boys which will sit in parallel with and complement the work of Equally Safe”.
In 2017 the CPS issued a Statement on male victims of crimes currently classified as VAWG
In 2019 the Home Office produced a Male Victims Position Paper.
In 2020 the Men and Boys Coalition published a briefing document on the case for a national strategy on intimate violence against men and boys.
The time is right.
Plug: The Equalogist is making a bid to be the de facto main men’s issues periodical in the UK. The latest edition is here. If you would like to subscribe (what do you have to lose?) email: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is pressure from the UN, some remnants of our EU membership, from other nations and from within our own Parliament to have a specific policy only for violence against females. Those who have seen my ICMI 2021 presentation will realise just how long this activism has been going on.
Yet there is nothing whatsoever to stop any government being pressured into having policies, strategies and laws specific for women not to copy those word for word into a policy for men. In a way we are already expanding on the demands, since most demands are to have legislation only for women; in the UK, we have already added in girls.
The UK government’s current objective with further limiting judicial reviews could mean that we can only push for equivalent (and I think it should be word-for-word, with just a sex change) measures to stop violence and abuse against men and male children. Internationally, we can apply pressure to countries to conform with the UDHR and even an attempt to censure the UK for not keeping to international treaties has worked in the past, though not against the vast feminist/Marxist programme.
I understand that many may be weary with the long haul it has become to get some actual equality in this issue. Buts that’s what the feminists bank on, that they can “no platform” men and women who oppose the “gendered” view of domestic abuse. They hope that constantly sidelining the men and woman fighting for equality will cause them to tire and give up. Please do make your voice heard.
Men have to take the long view, too. Feminist have been on the trail for over a hundred years now. The formal separation of caring about women specifically from everyone else (i.e. men and children) started in the 1930s and entered into a United Nations resolution only a few years after the Universal Declaration that insisted all nations treat men and women equally.
Every time we fight back helps. Every time we complain, every time we raise the issue of treaty compliance, every time we voice our concerns helps.