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CAFE is reporting on a new publication which is challenging conventional wisdom on domestic violence in several significant ways. Our press release and full public statement are provided below.

 

MEDIA ADVISORY – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Male Victims of Domestic Violence Suffer Severe Effects, Canadian Study Reports

TORONTO, ON – (April 15, 2019) Three Canadian sociologists are reporting on previously overlooked Statistics Canada data that fundamentally contradicts conventional wisdom on domestic violence, in particular by showing that men and women are equally likely to be victims, including of severe forms of violence.

The Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE), a charity that works with male victims, will host a press conference to discuss the report and its implications, this Thursday, April 18th in Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton. Details are provided below.

The groundbreaking article “Prevalence and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence in Canada as Measured by the National Victimization Survey: Focus on Male Victims” was published today (April 15, 2019) in the journal Partner Abuse. Authors Alexandra Lysova (SFU), Donald Dutton (UBC) and Emeka Dim (University of Saskatchewan) report conclusions, based on the 2014 Canadian General Social Survey, that in many cases challenge traditional perceptions of domestic violence:

  1. Both male and female victims reported severe forms of domestic violence at alarming rates.
  2. Gender was not a factor in whether an individual suffered long-term mental health effects of domestic violence, including experiencing PTSD-related symptoms.
  3. The victim’s gender profile was only a relevant factor at the most extreme end of physical violence.

“We strongly support the intervention programs and victim support services that have been built for women over the years,” said Justin Trottier, Executive Director of CAFE. “At the same time, men also suffer severe abuse with serious consequences for them and their children. It is appropriate that some resources be focused on that population.”

Canada has done a good job of creating systems and services to serve abused women and children with 627 shelters for abused women in Canada. We need to leverage this expertise and begin to build services for male victims and their children. CAFE receives calls from over 400 men each year desperately searching for a safe haven and is working to open Toronto’s first shelter for abused men and children.

Male victimization is an under-explored phenomenon and Canada must invest in research specifically on the unique experiences of male victims. CAFE is conducting a federally funded research project “Male Homelessness as a Consequence of Domestic Abuse,” which has surveyed 250 homeless men concerning their experiences linking male homelessness and domestic abuse. The results will be published in May 2019.

It is time that agencies from across the sector come together on campaigns to broaden public awareness,” said Trottier. “All victims, regardless of gender, need the support of friends and family who have a modern understanding for the many faces of domestic violence.”

PRESS CONFERENCE DETAILS

TORONTO

Speakers:
Dr. Alexandra Lysova, publication co-author
Miles Markovic, survivor of a 24 year long abusive relationship
Justin Trottier, CAFE Executive Director

Day/Time:
Thursday, April 18th at 10:00 AM Eastern Time

Location:
Canadian Centre for Men and Families
201 – 2 Homewood Ave., Toronto, ON, M4Y2J9

MONTREAL

Speakers:
Dr. Alexandra Lysova, publication co-author
Sadia Groguhé, Coordinator, La Maison Oxygène
Quentin Lebreton, Social Worker, Carrefour Familial
Alice, a female perpetrator of domestic violence
Daniel Bonin, Montreal Branch Director, CAFE

Day/Time:
Thursday, April 18th at 11:00 AM Eastern Time

Location:
Maison Oxygène Montréal
1660 Pie-IX Blvd, Montreal, QC, H1V 2C5

EDMONTON

Day/Time:
Thursday, April 18th at 11:00 AM Mountain Time

Location:
#201 10123 157 St., Edmonton, AB, T5P 2T9

Speakers:
Dr. Alexandra Lysova, publication co-author
Tom Matty, survivor of domestic violence
Dr. Michael Sean McMurtry, Edmonton Branch Director, CAFE

CONTACT

Justin Trottier
Executive Director, Canadian Association for Equality
jtrottier@equalitycanada.com
416-402-8856

The Canadian Association for Equality is committed to achieving equality for all Canadians, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, family status, race, ethnicity, creed, age or disability.

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FULL STATEMENT

Newly Revealed Statistics Canada Data Shows Significant Male Domestic Violence Victims

Governments often use population surveys to assess the extent of social problems. Our understanding of domestic violence is largely informed by the General Social Survey (GSS) on victimization undertaken by Statistics Canada every five years. Citizens are asked to report whether they suffered domestic violence within the previous five years.

Three Canadian researchers were able to access the raw source data from the 2014 GSS and in a groundbreaking article published on April 15, 2019 in the journal Partner Abuse, they report conclusions that in many cases fundamentally contradict conventional wisdom on domestic violence.

Here are the highlights from Prevalence and Consequences of intimate Partner Violence in Canada as Measured by the National Victimization Survey: Focus on Male Victims, authored by Alexandra Lysova (SFU), Donald Dutton (UBC) and Emeka Dim (University of Saskatchewan):

  1. Men were significantly more likely than women to report domestic violence victimization. Specifically, 2.9% of men and 1.7% of the women report physical and/or sexual assault.
  2. Men were more likely than women to have experienced severe forms of domestic violence (such as being hit or kicked). Specifically 1.1% of men and 0.5% of women reported severe forms of domestic violence.
  3. Male victims were less likely than female victims to have reported physical injuries and short-term emotional impacts of domestic violence. Specifically, 12% of male victims had experienced physical injury compared to 27% of female victims. Women are less likely to suffer severe violence but are more likely to be injured when they do suffer severe violence largely as a consequence of the greater average size, height, weight and strength of men.
  4. Men and women are equally likely to suffer long-term mental health effects of domestic violence, including experiencing PTSD-related symptoms.
  5. Domestic violence overall has decreased over the past ten years (7% in 2004; 6% in 2009; 4% in 2014)
  6. Different relationships have different incidence rates, with lesbian and bisexual women experiencing domestic violence at the highest rate of 11%.

These findings support the development of research, public policy and intervention programs that acknowledge the perpetration of violence by women and which are both gender-inclusive and gender-sensitive. Our agency is involved in several projects aimed in these directions.

  1. Women are at higher risk of serious injury and death in the context of family violence. Consequently, intervention programs should continue to prioritize female victims. At the same time, men also suffer severe abuse with serious consequences for them and their children. It is appropriate that some resources be focused on men and their children.
  2. Canada must move to establish victim services and abuse shelters for fathers and children. In Canada at present there are 627 shelters for abused women. Our agency receives calls from over 400 men each year desperately searching for a safe haven and we are working to open Toronto’s first shelter for abused men and children in Toronto.
  3. Research into male victimization lags far behind research into female victimization. Canada must invest in research specifically on male victims. In particular, we must better understand the link between male victimization, homelessness and mental health problems. Our agency has been conducting a federally funded research project “Male Homelessness as a Consequence of domestic Abuse,” which has surveyed 250 homeless men concerning their experiences with domestic abuse. The results will be published in March 2019.
  4. Police agencies must move toward gender inclusive policies around domestic violence. Police must apply common investigative procedures when dealing with male and female victims, rather than applying a gender lense which often means arresting a male victim rather than a female perpetrator.
  5. Hospital screening programs should move toward gender inclusive policies. Both men and women, rather than just women, should be asked about their experiences with domestic violence during Emergency Room intake.
  6. Government programs and policies should use gender neutral language when describing victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.
  7. Victim support agencies across the sector should join together on public awareness campaigns that seek to broaden the public understanding of domestic violence. Men no less than women benefit from supportive family, friends and coworkers, but many people still do not accept that men can be victims of domestic violence.

Based on these conclusions and a consensus emerging among researcher, the following are recommendations to Statistics Canada for improving the accuracy and reliability of data on domestic violence:

  1. Statistics Canada should move away from assessing domestic violence through “victim only” questions. The same individual is often both victim and perpetrator. Several large U.S. surveys which asked victims if they were also perpetrators, concluded that bilateral violence in which couples are mutually violent toward one another is the most common form of partner abuse. It is also the form of domestic abuse in which women are more likely to be injured.
  2. Statistics Canada should move away from “crime victimization” in favour of general population surveys. Crime victimization surveys create a well-known “crime filter” bias and in particular under-emphasize male victimization as men are less likely to acknowledge their domestic violence victimization was a crime.
  3. Statistics Canada should stop citing police data in its Family Violence portraits. Police data are wildly inconsistent with Statistic Canada’s own general population surveys and inconsistent with the emerging scholarly consensus around gender and domestic violence. That is because police data capture only instances of abuse which are consistent with institutional policies around domestic violence. Police data record only those incidents where police make an arrest or where police choose to log an incident as domestic violence. Most police agencies in Canada are directed to employ a gender lens when dealing with domestic violence and therefore treat investigations of male and female perpetration differently, often declining to take action against a violent woman. In many instances, male victims find themselves arrested after calling police, meaning that instances of male victimization are actually being logged in the data as instances of male perpetration. This may relate to why male victims are significantly more likely to report dissatisfaction with police, according to the 2014 GSS .