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December 2, 2009
Contact: Alan Karmin, <>

Justice Official Criticized for Ignoring Scientific Integrity Policy

MORRISTOWN, NJ, December 2, 2009 – The Thanksgiving Day message from Catherine Pierce, Acting Director of the U.S. Dept. of Justice Office on Violence Against Women, implicitly stereotypes boys and men as abusers according to Washington State family law attorney Lisa Scott. "The OVW is collaborating with a large women's clothing corporation, in the OVW's own words, 'to spark a national conversation.' The goal of that national conversation appears to be to convince the public that violence against women and girls is pervasive throughout the U.S., without ever mentioning domestic violence against boys and men," says Scott. "OVW's failure to give equal prominence to the large numbers of men and boys abused by women creates the false impression that there are too few male victims to notice and that women are never violent to their husbands or boyfriends."

The first scientific research to show that domestic violence doesn't discriminate on the basis of gender was the first National Family Violence Survey, funded by National Institutes of Health in 1975. When it showed that the number of female and male abusers were roughly equal, even the researchers themselves were surprised. But in the 34 years since that study, a great many subsequent studies have confirmed that conclusion.

Cal. State Prof. Martin Fiebert has compiled a bibliography of over 270 scientific studies since then, all of which demonstrate that women's physical aggression against their husbands and boyfriends equals or exceeds that of men. The aggregate sample size of these studies exceeds 365,000.

"The public has been kept largely ignorant of the results of scientific studies because of government-sponsored publicity campaigns like the one the OVW is promoting," explains Mark Rosenthal of RADAR, an organization dedicated to promoting effective solutions to domestic violence. "This flies in the face of President Obama's policy on scientific integrity."

On March 9th of this year, President Obama issued a memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies, which said, "The public must be able to trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions. Political officials should not suppress or alter scientific or technological findings and conclusions."

Due to continual disregard of Congressional instructions that male as well as female victims are to be provided help, Congress included explicit language to that effect when it reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act in 2005.

"Besides ignoring the President's memo on scientific integrity, the Office on Violence Against Women also appears to be ignoring their Congressional mandate to assure that services are provided to all victims of domestic violence without regard to gender," says Rosenthal.

Further information on bias in domestic violence programs can be found in RADAR's special report "VAWA Programs Discriminate Against Male Victims", available for free download at http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/RADARreport-VAWA-Discriminates-Against-Males.pdf.

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://mediaradar.org.

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