Contact: Teri Stoddard
Battering the Truth: SAVE Report Reveals Many Abuse Statistics are One-Sided or False
Washington, DC/April 11, 2012 — The federal government spends $76 million a year for domestic violence education programs, but 90 percent of the claims made in these programs are one-sided, misleading, or completely untrue, according to a new report from Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE). The report, “Most DV Educational Programs Lack Accuracy, Balance, and Truthfulness,” compares validated scientific research with the claims made by leading abuse-reduction groups: http://www.saveservices.org/downloads/SAVE-DV-Educational-Programs
The SAVE report highlights three offenders:
- The American Bar Association frames its discussion of domestic violence with the broad claim that “2 to 4 million American women are battered every year.” But the dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Work derides that statistic as a “factoid from nowhere.”
- The National Network to End Domestic Violence, an umbrella organization for state domestic violence advocates, has developed a fact sheet on “Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Fact Sheet.” Only five of the 30 statements contained in the NNEDV fact sheet are accurate and truthful representations of the social science.
- Judicial benchbooks, used by judges as summaries of current law and key information on a subject, are similarly skewed. Various states’ manuals present the statistic that 95 percent of spouse-abuse victims are women. In fact, men are equally as likely as women to be victims of intimate partner aggression: http://www.saveservices.org/pdf/Seven-Facts-Every-American-Should-Know-About-DV.pdf.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which funds many of these educational efforts, has been criticized for having inadequate safeguards against waste and fraud: http://saveservices.org/pdf/SAVE-Accountability-and-Oversight.pdf.
SAVE has declared that such false claims are doing harm to victims of domestic violence. By imprinting a false picture of domestic violence on Americans’ understanding of the issue, the domestic violence establishment hampers outreach to male, LGBT, and other underserved victims.
Spokesman Philip W. Cook says of the report’s findings: “VAWA must not be reauthorized without a remedy for the damage this misinformation is doing to domestic violence victims and to our system of justice. The biases we are talking about are systematic, widespread, and doggedly resistant to correction.”
Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to partner violence: www.saveservices.org.