Take Back the Tech

Take Back The TechI’ve come across Take Back the Tech a site that is looking at ways that ICT can be used to reduce the level of violence against women :

ka-BLOG! is a 16-day blog fest for the Take Back the Tech Campaign. It is open to anyone and everyone – girls, boys, everyone beyond and more — who wants to share their thoughts, write poetry and prose, post graphics / pictures, rant, rave, heckle, make snide remarks, stick their tongue out at violence against women, and how online communications can exacerbate or help eliminate VAW.

That seems like an excellent idea.

Women’s Aid has the detail on the scale of the issue:

  • One in four women: An analysis of 10 separate domestic violence prevalence studies found consistent findings: 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence over their lifetimes and between 6-10% of women suffer domestic violence in a given year (Council of Europe, 2002).
  • 12.9 million incidents: British Crime Survey found that there were an estimated 12.9 million incidents of domestic violence acts (that constituted non-sexual threats or force) against women and 2.5 million against men in England and Wales in the year preceding interview (Walby & Allen, 2004).
  • One in five counselling sessions: Nearly 1 in 5 counselling sessions held in Relate Centres in England on 28 September 2000 mentioned domestic violence as an issue in the marriage (Stanko, 2000).
  • One call a minute to the police: Every minute in the UK, the Police receive a call from the public for assistance for domestic violence. This leads to police receiving an estimated 1,300 calls each day or over 570,000 each year. (Stanko, 2000). However, according to the British Crime Survey, only 40.2% of actual domestic violence crime is reported to the Police (Dodd et al, July 2004).
  • Women asssaulted by men they know: British Crime Survey research found that “women are most commonly sexually assaulted by men they know”. When the researchers asked women about the last incident of rape experienced since the age of 16, they found that 45% were raped by current partners, 11% by former partners, 11% were raped on “dates”, 16% by acquaintances and 10% by “other intimates”. 8% were raped by strangers (Myhill & Allen, 2002).
  • Assaults from partners not living together: Of women who had experienced domestic violence, 25% had never lived with the partner who had committed the worst act of violence against them. (Walby & Allen, 2004).
  • Fear of being killed: In a study of 200 women’s experiences of domestic violence it was found that 60% of the women had left because they feared that they or their children would be killed by the perpetrator (Humphreys & Thiara, 2002).

Locally the council have a page on their website giving details of the support that victims should be able to access and advice on how to deal with it. Much of the credit for creating pressure in the council for the issue should go to former councillor Colin Hastie. For the nine years I was a councillor Colin consistently made sure that the issue had a profile in policy and practice. He and his wife Jane were a formidible duo on this and woe betide the officer or cabinet member who brought forward community safety proposals that didn’t consider how Lewisham would reduce violence against women.

Nationally I’d also point to intiatives, such as the one by the Body Shop and Women’s Aid to get recycled mobile phones to women, which I thought was fantastic.

(via NetSquared)

technorati tags: takebackthetech


About Andrew Brown

I live in Lewisham, South East London, and spent 9 years as a Labour councillor in the borough between 1997 and 2006.
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12 Responses to Take Back the Tech

  1. Trevor says:

    1 in 4 are victims of domestic violence in their lifetime? And 6-10% suffer domestic violence annually? Given that the female part of the population of ages between 16 to 64 is about 21,000,000, that means (taking the lower figure of 6%) 1,260,000 women are victims of domestic violence annually????? I’m reading the statistics as they are, or am I making a mistake here?

    Am I alone in looking at the statistics and finding them misleading? I think if it were true that 1.26 million women were victims, everyone would notice and I wouldn’t need to leave a comment here.

  2. Andrew Brown says:

    Good question Trevor. I’ll take a look and see if I can find corroborating evidence about whether things have changed in the last 5 or so years.

  3. Pingback: Intimate Violence against Women (and Men) « Someday I Will Treat You Good

  4. Ross says:

    one could argue that the sample sizes of the study is too low to be representative (about 13,000 women), but to be honest given the tendency for such crimes to be hushed up and not reported/talked about i don’t think too much could be made of that

    the most depressing thing that i found in the most recent BCS report is the percentage of domestic violence incidents reported in the BCS study that is actually reported to the police which was only 44% in 2006, up from only 23% in 1991, so i guess official crime figures in respect to this would be pretty static given a halving of actual incidents but a doubling of the reporting of them

    so out of trevor’s 1.2 million, a good 700,000 or so of these would have not been reported, and even then out of those which actually are reported i’d imagine quite a high proportion would end up with no action being taken against the perpetrator, so even more the offical crime figures would less and less represent the underlying reality


  5. Trevor says:

    Becoming intrigued, I researched where this figure of 1in4 came from. Its point of origin was a report by a Betty Stanko who, it is reported to have plucked the figure out of the air and now distances herself from that same report. It would appear to me that her initial report has been stated as fact, repeated so often so as to be taken as fact. Well, just because someone says so, doesn’t actually make it true.

    To comment on what Ross wrote “out of trevor’s 1.2 million, a good 700,000 or so of these would have not been reported,” could it not be that these 700,000 were never reported because they never took place? To accept that 700,000 is an extrapolated figure can be misleading as the quote “1 in 4” is stated as a given.

    BCS states that there were an estimated 12.9 million reports of domestic violence against women. This doesn’t seem to sit well or complement other studies. In fact, reading further on, the BCS goes on to say that only 40.2% of domestic violence is reported to the police. They say they have 570,000 calls per year when they really should be expecting something in the region of 2.28million!

    Perhaps I’m simply misreading the statistics, but the results just seem implausible to me. To illustrate. My sister is a midwife, in 10 years she has delivered in the region of 4000 babies. I asked her about this 1 in 4 figure. The same view is prevalent in the NHS and she repeated more or less what is written here. So I asked, just how many victims of domestic violence had she actually seen (midwifes are under obligation to report it). In 10 years she had seen…..2….that’s right, 2. I’ve no doubt that is just circumstance and have no doubt domestic violence takes place, but what I question is the extent. Nothing that I have examined or seen leads me to suggest anything other than the figures quoted of 1 in 4 etc are a gross misrepresentation – which serves no-one.

    Incidentally, the BCS figure of 12.9million acts of domestic violence against women seems mind boggling in light of the fact that this figure represents all women who would reasonably be expected to be in a relationship. But again, maybe I am misunderstanding what I am reading.

  6. Andrew Brown says:

    My guess would be that what is being measured may not fit what you think of as domestic violence. If you look at the other post I did on the research I found you’ll see the definitions, which include threats of violence, intimidation and stalking.

    There are always points of caution to be made about survey based statistics – as Ross points out the survey size wasn’t huge – and there was a good article about that in Prospect a few issues ago unfortunately behind a pay per view wall.

  7. Ross says:

    “To comment on what Ross wrote “out of trevor’s 1.2 million, a good 700,000 or so of these would have not been reported,” could it not be that these 700,000 were never reported because they never took place? To accept that 700,000 is an extrapolated figure can be misleading as the quote “1 in 4″ is stated as a given.”

    maybe, but surely if you question the representative sample used in this survey, then the same should be done with any survey, anywhere, on anything

    where has the 12.9million figure came from though? have you got your decimal points mixed up? if you actually mean 1.2 million then the 44% of this reported would equate to the half a milllion calls they say they get each year which seems to stack up

    the BCS study doesn’t state explicitly the 12.9 (1.2m?) million figure remember, it only gives the percentage who reported it in their study, but on the other hand surely they should have confidence in their sample size & representation, which from looking at the details given on it in the actual BCS report itself seems pretty diverse across all measures

    re the point about your sisters observations, given the fairly wide definition of domestic violence i’d say a lot of the cases of it that are experienced by the victim are not ones that could be easily identified or observed by someone outwith that household or someone not familiar with the family/couple, as andrew said the defintions of it is pretty wide and includes pretty much anything that is the result of an abuse of unequal power relationships in the family, i.e. economic, emotional, social and physical

    whether you believe if the results can be extrapolated or not (and if you don’t as i said you should equally doubt all surveys done anywhere and on anything) the fact is that out of that survey a quarter of women reported that they had experienced domestic violence (as per the definitions) at some point, that in itself can not be denied

  8. Trevor says:

    The BCS reports an estimated 12.9 million incidents of domestic violence, no misplacing of a decimal point there. I just queried that figure because it roughly equates to the number of women one might expect to be in a relationship.

    The police get roughly 570,000 calls relating to domestic violence each year. The BCS states that only 40.2% of actual domestic violence crime is reported. That makes (now my calculator is working properly) that the police should be getting about 1.42 million calls per annum. Now, given that the population of women between the ages of 16 to 64 is about 21,000,000, and 75% of these women will never experience domestic violence, that means 5.25 million do. And there’s the rub, it just doesn’t seem credible that there should be 1.42 incidents of women reporting domestic violence as this would mean it would be the same women being victims of domestic violence over and over again.

    I’d like to read Andrews post on his research but can’t find a link. I am a bit puzzled by the “violence”. Violence is defined as “the exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse.” It just seems to me that Domestic Violence and Domestic Abuse are two separate issues that have become indistinguishable. This does seem to muddy the waters a bit. If you could post me the link, I would be very interested in reading it.

  9. Andrew Brown says:

    Trevor, sorry I should have been clearer, the link is here.

  10. Ross says:

    Trevor what part of the BCS report is it that shows that 12.9million figure for domestic/intimate violence, i had a look through it can can’t find it

    the home office report which andrew linked to in the post above on domestic/intimate violence which is based on the BCS survey shows 28% of all women (and 18% of all men) surveyed had experienced at least one incident of abuse since the age of 16, and 6% of al women (5% of men) had experienced one instance in the last year

    so out of the 21m 16-64 age group, 28% equates to roughly 5.9m which represents the amount of people who have experienced at least one instance since the age of 16 (but for some in that survey that incident could have happened nearly 50 years ago), and the 6% that have experienced at least one instance in the last year equates to 1.26m. Now the percentage of crime that is reported is about 44% which equates to roughly 550,000 actual calls in the last year which ties in to the police figure you quoted above

    complete agree about your point on terminology abuse rather than violence would seem to be a more accurate category for what’s being looked at here

  11. Trevor says:

    12.9 million incidents: British Crime Survey found that there were an estimated 12.9 million incidents of domestic violence acts (that constituted non-sexual threats or force) against women and 2.5 million against men in England and Wales in the year preceding interview (Walby & Allen, 2004). This is the second bullet point made and where the 12.9 million figure comes from.

    The 570,000 calls made to the police represents only 40.2% of the total that should be expected. “according to the British Crime Survey, only 40.2% of actual domestic violence crime is reported to the Police (Dodd et al, July 2004).” Now if the number of calls is 570,000, and incidents reported are 40.2% of the total that believed to occur, it must follow that the total number of incidents is 1.42 million. In that bullet point, it is stated that 570,000 calls are made EACH year, so it must also follow that there are 1,42 million incidents EACH year. So are the bullet points in error made in the original post in error?

  12. Ross says:

    i see what you mean now, your right it doesn’t stack up against the other stacks, even if the 12.9m represented the actual incidents in the year and not the number of victims that would imply that each of the 1.2m people who had experienced abuse, experienced it on average 10 times in that year, doesn’t make sense

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