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Project ID: HPSE-CT-1999-00008
Finanziato nell'ambito di: FP5-HUMAN POTENTIAL
Paese: United Kingdom

The social problem of men: Violences

The recurring theme here is the widespread nature of the problem of men’s violences to women, children and other men, and in particular the growing public awareness of men’s violence against women. Men are over represented among those who use violence, especially heavy violence. This violence is also age-related. The life course variation in violence with a more violence-prone youth phase has been connected to increasing exposure to commercial violence and to other social phenomena, but these connections have not been well mapped.

Violence against women by known men is becoming recognised as a major social problem in most of the countries. The range of abusive behaviours perpetrated on victims include direct physical violence, isolation and control of movements, and abuse through the control of money. There has been a large amount of feminist research on women’s experiences of violence from men, and the policy and practical consequences of that violence, including that by state and welfare agencies, as well as some national representative surveys of women’s experiences of violence, as in Finland. There has for some years been a considerable research literature on prison and clinical populations of violent men. There is now the recent development of some research in the UK and elsewhere on the accounts and understandings of such violence to women by men living in the community, men’s engagement with criminal justice and welfare agencies, and the evaluation of men’s programmes intervening with such men. The gendered study of men’s violence to women is thus a growing focus of funded research, as is professional intervention.

Child abuse, including physical abuse, sexual abuse and child neglect, is now also being recognised as a prominent social problem in many countries. Both the gendered nature of these problems and an appreciation of how service responses are themselves gendered are beginning to receive more critical attention, both in terms of perpetrators and victims/survivors. There has been a strong concern with the intersection of sexuality and violence in Italy and the UK: This is likely to be an area of growing concern elsewhere. There is some research on men’s sexual abuse of children but this is still an underdeveloped research focus in most countries - as is the undoubted overlap between men who are violent to their partners and men who are violent to their children. In some countries sexual abuse cases remain largely hidden, as is men’s sexual violence to men. There has also been some highlighting of those men who have received violence from women. Men’s violences to ethnic minorities, migrants, people of colour, gay men and older people are being highlighted more, but still very unexplored.

Policy recommendations on men’s violences:
Our recommendations include: stopping men’s violence to women, children and other men, assisting victims and survivors; enforcing the criminal law on clear physical violence, that has historically often not been enforced in relation to men’s violence to known women and children; making non-violence and anti-violence central public policy of all relevant institutions - including a focus on schools within extensive public education campaigns; assisting men who have been violent to stop their violence, such as men’s programmes, should be subject to accountability, high professional standards, close evaluation, and not be funded from women’s services; and recognising the part played by men in forms of other violence, including racist violence. We also want to make a more general point about social policy and men’s violences to women and/or children.

If we look at various welfare systems in Western Europe in terms of the extent to which they demonstrate an awareness of the problem and a willingness to respond to it, then the transnational patterns that emerge in Europe are almost a reversal of the standard Esping-Andersen-type classifications. The criteria which can be used to look at each country would include: the levels of research carried out on the topic in different countries; the extent to which the prevalence of men’s violences has been researched and/or acknowledged publically; the extent to which legal frameworks are focused on men’s violences; the extent to which there are welfare initiatives aimed at dealing with the outcomes of men’s violences; the extent to which welfare professionals are trained to address men’s violences.

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University of Sunderland
Priestman Building, Green Terrace
SR1 3PZ Sunderland
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