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NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission.  All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.  

January 6, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Readers will recall that I’ve written about Nebraska attorney Chris Johnson’s op-ed on the inequalities in the law and practice regarding domestic violence and the response nine days later by the state domestic violence establishment in the person of one Lynne Lange.The following is the rebuttal to Lange’s agitprop by Johnson and the mother of the DV shelter movement, the inestimable Erin Pizzey.

Misinformation About Domestic Violence

Chris Johnson and Erin Pizzey

Chris Johnson, a family law attorney in Hastings, is a past chair of the family law section of the Nebraska State Bar Association.Erin Pizzey founded the world’s first battered women’s shelter in 1971 and runs Honest-Ribbon.org, a UK-based organization that supports evidence-based solutions to domestic violence.

Lynne Lange’s column (“The facts about domestic violence,” Omaha World Herald, Dec. 23) seems to confirm the chronic gender bias in domestic violence programs that was identified in “Nebraska Must Address Gender Bias” (Omaha World Herald, Dec. 14).Ms. Lange claims the earlier column highlighted misleading information about domestic violence.As discussed below, her claim doesn’t match the facts.

The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge (PASK) project discussed in the earlier column was the largest-ever survey of domestic violence research.It was performed by 112 researchers at 20 research institutions who reviewed approximately 12,000 domestic violence studies.Their findings were reported in 17 peer-reviewed articles published in 2012 and 2013.These articles are available at www.domesticviolenceresearch.org.

The PASK website includes an overview that highlights it’s more important findings.Even a cursory glance shows the findings discussed earlier are the central findings of the entire PASK project – men and women perpetrate and are victimized by domestic and sexual violence at comparable rates.

Ms. Lange refers to the “National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey” to claim the PASK findings are somehow invalid or misleading.However, this survey actually confirms those findings.According to a 2015 article by Jenna Birch:

“in 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data from its National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey — and one of the most shocking statistics wasn’t just the sheer total of victims of physical violence but also how those numbers broke down by gender.

“According to the CDC’s statistics — estimates based on more than 18,000 telephone-survey responses in the United States — roughly 5,365,000 men had been victims of intimate partner physical violence in the previous 12 months, compared with 4,741,000 women. By the study’s definition, physical violence includes slapping, pushing, and shoving. 

“More severe threats like being beaten, burned, choked, kicked, slammed with a heavy object, or hit with a fist were also tracked. Roughly 40 percent of the victims of severe physical violence were men. The CDC repeated the survey in 2011, the results of which were published in 2014, and found almost identical numbers — with the percentage of male severe physical violence victims slightly rising.”

This survey also found sexual assaults were comparable with 1.270 million women and 1.267 million men being victims of non-consensual sexual contact in the previous 12 months.

More recent studies, including articles published by the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, American Journal of Public Health and an Archives of Sexual Behavior article that used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, show similar results.

Even the U.S. Department of Justice report Ms. Lange mentions shows domestic violence victimization is comparable between men and women across almost all categories tracked, including rates of simple assault, serious violence, use of weapons and need for medical treatment.

According to research by Dr. Sandra Stith at Kansas State University, female initiation of partner violence is the leading reason women become victims of subsequent injury.She calls it “a dramatically more important factor than anything else.”

According to Dr. Stith, “traditional treatment for offenders only focuses on power and control and really doesn’t look at domestic violence as having multiple causes.If you treat everybody who comes in as having a problem with power and control, you’re missing the boat.”

Ultimately, the most interesting thing about Ms. Lange’s column is what it doesn’t say – she never says Nebraska domestic violence programs are providing comparable services to male victims.In fact, she seems to confirm they aren’t.

Under federal law, domestic violence programs must provide “substantially equal benefits” to male and female victims.They must make every reasonable effort to ensure the shelter provided is comparable in safety, quality and amenities.If they provide counseling, legal advocacy or parenting groups to women, they must also make every reasonable effort to ensure male victims can participate in all the same services.

Ms. Lange’s statements suggest this isn’t happening.The Nebraska Attorney General and U.S. Attorney should investigate.

#domesticviolence, #ErinPizzey, #PartnerAbuseStateofKnowledge

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