The government’s Impact Assessment on strengthening the law on domestic abuse

Our thanks to N for pointing us towards this, the government’s Impact Assessment on the Home Office’s plans to ‘strengthen’ the law on domestic abuse. Unusually for such an important government document, it’s been released a PDF. It will surely be a wake-up call for anyone still suffering from the delusion that strengthening the law on domestic abuse may benefit men. In practice it will simply extent the grounds on which malicious women can hound partners – and former partners, as we’ll see – in line with their judgments of ‘abuse’ (whether real, imagined, or invented). Many jobs will be created in the domestic violence industry ‘educating’ women about coercive control – well, you didn’t think Women’s Aid were working with the Home Office for altruistic reasons, did you?

We publicly challenged Theresa May MP, Home Secretary, to cancel the feminist-driven consultation exercise – here – and later submitted a 154-page report showing what’s long been known by researchers about the subject of domestic abuse / violence, outlining the anti-male bias of public bodies and individual politicians (including Theresa May MP, Home Secretary, and Yvette Cooper MP, Shadow Home Secretary) as well as people in public bodies including Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions, the radical feminist head of the Crime Prosecution Service. We had acknowledgements of the receipt of both documents, but no responses, substantive or otherwise.

Public accountability is a fine thing.

Onto the Impact Assessment, which is highly detailed, and 28 pages long. We note it’s the final draft of the assessment, suggesting earlier drafts. Just six week elapsed between the end of the ‘consultation’ exercise ending – 15.10.14 – and the final report being prepared.

A considerable amount of consultation must have go on with various public bodies to gather the detailed information presented in the report. The idea that this exercise might have started only after the results of the consultation exercise were known, is to beggar belief. A two-legged tortoise would have a higher chance of outrunning an Olympic athlete.

This in itself is strongly indicative that the results of the consultation exercise were utterly predictable, and that in parallel with the charade (and indeed before) civil servants were working on the impact assessment. It took a further six weeks for the document to be signed – last Wednesday, 7 January – by someone whose signature is indecipherable, and whose name isn’t printed. In signing the document, the person was confirming:

I have read the Impact Assessment and I am satisfied that (a) it represents a fair and reasonable view of the expected costs, benefits and impact of the policy, and (b) that the benefits justify the costs.

So what are the expected costs? Over a period of 10 years, between £75.6 million and £164.4 million, with a ‘best estimate’ of £119.1 million (all at Total Net Present Value). On page 7 of the report we see a breakdown of the £119.1 million estimate, which I’ve placed in descending cost order:

HM Prisons £43.1m

Probation Service £19.6m

Police £19.2m

Crown Prosecution Service £15.7m

Magistrates’ courts £13.7m

Legal Aid Agency £7.8m

We can be very confident that all, or virtually all, of the new prisoners convicted under this ‘strengthening’ of the law on domestic abuse will be men. Men already make up 95.4% of those in prisons in England and Wales (81,045 male v 3,932 female prisoners), and it’s known that if men were treated as leniently as women in sentencing terms, five out of six men in British prisons wouldn’t be there, as William Collins demonstrated – here.

Let’s remind ourselves that men will pay 72% of the income taxes which will largely finance this extension of the state’s assaults on men.

From the first page of the document (that signed by Ms Anonymous):

What are the policy objectives and the intended effects?
The main objective of the policy is to ensure the legislative framework covers all domestic abuse, in particular controlling and coercive behaviour, in intimate relationships. This is so that the public understand and recognise that domestic abuse, including coercive and controlling behaviour, is illegal and perpetrators are brought to justice. The intended effect is more reporting of domestic abuse, more prosecutions, a reduction in the number of repeat victims, and ultimately a reduction in domestic abuse.

There’ so much nonsense there I could point out, but hardly need to, for followers of this blog. Let’s move on.

On p1 we find the following ‘key monetised benefit by main affected groups’:

Frontline services may be able to intervene earlier and more effectively with victims, which may prevent the abuse from escalating into physical and/or sexual abuse…

Again, no commentary needed, beyond pointing out this is a recipe for the state to rip men out of their own homes at the whim of a woman. If THAT isn’t ‘coercive control’, I don’t know what is.

We often hear the claim from politicians and other public officials that strategies and initiatives termed ‘End Violence against Women and Girls’ and the like are equally concerned with male victims (and female perpetrators) and weasel words are employed in an effort to substantiate the lie, when the reality is – of course – very different. The author – or, more likely, authoress – of this impact assessment couldn’t even be bothered to pretend anyone in the government cares about male victims of domestic abuse. The first paragraph of the Background on p2:

Tackling all forms of violence against women and girls, (my emphasis) including domestic abuse, has been a key priority for this Government. The strategy for tackling domestic abuse is set out in ‘A Call to End Violence against Women and Girls’ . Each year, a refreshed action plan has been published to deliver against this strategy. This has led to a range of interventions to improve the response to domestic abuse.

The cited EVAWG document, prepared by the Crown Prosecution Service, is here.

There’s much more in this impact assessment I could write about, but the election is 16 or 17 weeks away, and I need to focus on that. I’ll leave you by commenting on some of the content on pp 7,8 of the document, on ‘Option 2’, the proposal to introduce new legislation – through an amendment to the Serious Crimes Bill – ‘to criminalise patterns of coercive and controlling conduct perpetrated within intimate and family relationships’. The extract:

Draft Framework
35. Subject to Parliamentary Counsel advice, the framework for the offence is likely to be along the following lines:

(1) A person (A) commits an offence if—

(a) A repeatedly or continuously engages in behaviour towards another person (B)
that is controlling or coercive,
(b) at the time of the behaviour, A and B are personally connected,
(c) the behaviour has a serious effect on B, and
(d) A knows or ought to know that the behaviour will have a serious effect on B.

(2) A and B are “personally connected” if—
(a) A is in an intimate personal relationship with B, or
(b) A and B live together and—
(i) they are members of the same family, or
(ii) they have previously been in an intimate personal relationship with each other.

(3) But A does not commit an offence under this section if at the time of the behaviour in question—
(a) A and B are personally connected by virtue of subsection (2)(b)(i),
(b) A is a parent of B or has parental responsibility for B, and
(c) B is under 16.

(4) A’s behaviour has a “serious effect” on B if—
(a) it causes B to fear, on at least two occasions, that violence will be used against B, or
(b) it causes B serious alarm or distress which has a substantial adverse effect on B’s usual day-to-day activities.

In plain English, this ‘strengthening’ of the law will make a criminal of any man with an intimate partner or former intimate partner(s) – not necessarily a wife – if one of those women claims that on at least two occasions she’s feared violence would be used against her. A completely subjective judgment on her part, and the man needn’t have struck a woman in his life. No, the woman’s feelings – real, imagined, or invented – will make him a criminal, and may even lead to his imprisonment.

Yet another reason why we keep saying Men Shouldn’t Marry.

About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
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