Male and female perpetrators of domestic violence must be treated equally, and victims regardless of gender must have access to the treatment and support they need, an MP has warned.
Shipley MP Philip Davies said it would be a “huge disservice” to victims if Parliament kept suggesting domestic violence only affects women at the hands of men.
Speaking in a debate on the Domestic Abuse Bill he said: “Men are perpetrators of domestic violence, men are victims of domestic violence, women are perpetrators, women are victims of domestic violence. We have a duty to treat everyone equally before the law and I hope it does not matter if the perpetrator is a man or woman they should face the full rigour of the law and whether the victim is a man or woman they should have the same safeguards. I hope this legislation will do that. It is not gender based violence, it is unacceptable violence by all sorts of people and we should treat them all equally before the law.
“I want all victims to get the services they need and we have just heard on the Women and Equalities Committee some very moving accounts from male victims struggling to get the help they need. It is not about either or, I want to see everyone who is a victim of domestic violence getting the treatment and support they need and I do not care if they are a man or woman, or if the person is in a majority category or a minority category, that is irrelevant.”
Mr Davies said domestic violence affects people in every type of relationship. He pointed to figures which show you are one and a half times more likely to be a female victim of domestic violence in a lesbian relationship than in a heterosexual relationship. Figures for men in same sex relationships show 5.1 per cent report being a victim of non sexual domestic violence by their male partner – the same percentage for women reporting violence against them in a heterosexual relationship.
Mr Davies said he supported many measures in the Bill but wanted to see additions to include action against people making false claims of domestic abuse and for parent alienation – where one parent turns the child against the other parent for no reason to be included in the definition of abuse.
He said: “One parent using the child as a weapon against the other parent and it is a growing phenomenon, I certainly see in my surgeries. In some cases where domestic violence is taking place it is right the parent is removed and I believe that and I am firm believer in punishment and I would treat perpetrators of domestic violence much more severely than they are at the moment. But where there is no good reason for a parent to stop contact that is like domestic abuse.”