The Channel 4 “Dispatches” programme, periodically presented by the channel in the UK as a documentary series which tackles social and political subjects. It is one of the major ground-breaking documentary TV series in the UK and enjoys a good reputation for covering difficult social problems sensitively, yet incisively.

In late 1998, Dispatches undertook a survey of male victims of domestic violence. A summary of the results of the survey highlighting the experiences of 100 male victims was broadcast on Channel 4 on the 7 January 1999 under the title “Domestic Violence on Men”. The programme was produced by First Frame Publications (London, UK) for Channel 4 and the producer was Lynn Ferguson. (Ms Ferguson had previously produced a programme in this series which tackled the issue of male rape).

The study was based on a survey instrument supplied by Dr Malcolm George, who cooperated in the initial production phase of the programme. The survey results were analysed by Dr Kevin Browne, an advisor to the Home Office on Domestic Violence. A summary of his analysis is given in a separate document. These detailed survey results should be read in conjunction with Dr Browne’s analysis.

A full script of the broadcast programme content, a summary of the programme and results and details of the responses received by the helpline run by BSS Wales after the broadcast, are also available from the link below:

Some Background Information:

In April 1998, Dispatches broadcast two programmes on battered women, entitled “Men Behaving Badly”. As part of the research for these, a specially commissioned survey was carried out which focused on the response of the police and courts to reports of domestic violence against women. It turned out to be the largest survey of it’s kind in Britain – almost 400 women filled in detailed questionnaires.

Following transmission, Dispatches received a large number of calls from men requesting that a programme be made about male victims of violence in the home. They claimed that abuse by women could be just as serious and criticised the media for ignoring this under-reported problem.

Since very little research had been done on this subject, Dispatches decided to conduct yet another survey, this time focussing wholly on male victims.

Reliability Of The Results:

The Dispatches team were aware that they could not prove unequivocally that all 100 men included in the survey were telling the truth. The greatest problem researchers face in substantiating the accounts of ‘battered men’ is that only a small minority currently report to the police. However, both the consultant and the production team were satisfied that the overall results of the survey are reasonably reliable. Firstly, it is the largest qualitative survey of male victims of domestic violence ever carried out in this country.

Secondly, as explained above, greater efforts than normal were made to substantiate the men’s accounts.

It may be worth pointing out that in all similar self-reporting surveys of women, responses have been taken at face value.

N.B. While some men did question why these checks were being made, the production team were at pains to point out that it was the ‘credibility gap’ in society at large, that made them necessary.

View Full Article Here.

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