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October 23, 2006
Contact: David Usher, <>

UN Violence Report Criticized as Deliberately Biased

Rockville, MD – Leading family violence researchers around the world are disputing the partner violence conclusions of the recent United Nations report, Secretary-General's Study on Violence Against Women. The UN study probes the issue of violence directed against women and recommends strategies to combat abuse.

But leading scientists say the report's approach to partner abuse is fundamentally flawed, and its recommended solutions will not solve the problem of partner aggression.

Dr. Murray Straus, co-director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, notes, “The UN report's discussion on domestic violence is biased because it deliberately ignores half the problem – female perpetrators. Ending violence against women by male partners is not going to be achieved until women also desist.”

Felicity Goodyear-Smith, a physician-researcher at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, believes men and women alike are ill-served by the report: “Studies consistently show that throughout the Western world, men and women initiate physical violence at about equal rates, and frequently partner violence is reciprocal. Portraying inter-partner violence as though it only involves male perpetrators and female victims does both men and women a disservice.”

Donald Dutton, professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia believes many studies of intimate partner abuse do not meet even minimum standards of scientific validity: “Much domestic violence research conducted in North America has been so biased that it might be called ‘junk science.’ It has used selective data and interpreted results in a way that depicts all males as real or potential perpetrators, while downplaying female violence.”

Nicola Graham-Kevan, PhD, senior lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire in England, believes that following the report's recommendations will only allow the problem of spousal abuse to persist: “Research on intimate partner violence consistently finds that men and women use similar types of aggression. By ignoring the mutual nature of much partner violence, the UN ensures that both women and men will continue to be victimised in this way.”

Nearly 200 studies around the world show that men and women are equally likely to engage in partner aggression: http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm. Psychologist John Archer has reported that 38% of persons injured by domestic violence are male.

R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://www.mediaradar.org.

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