The Home Office (HO): is a ministerial department of the Her Majesty’s Government of the United Kingdom, responsible for immigration, security, and law and order. It was formerly responsible for Her Majesty’s Prison Service and Probation Service, but these transferred to the Ministry of Justice in 2007.
Is the Home Office a tad man hatey?
Advocates for father’s rights certainly think that our courts can be quite hostile towards them and Tory MP Phillip Davies has some interesting things to say about gender equity in the justice system but in a world where the first ever Female Home Secretary was appointed as recently as 2007 is it seriously realistic, or reasonable, that we should even entertain the possibility that some of the Home Offices’s policies might produce outcomes that are a bit anti-bloke?
The answer to at least my secondary question is a very definite yes.
Not because EYE or any other humble tax payer might think so but because, since the Right Honourable Harriet Harman MP introduced the Equality Act in 2010, the Home Office themselves say so.
The public sector equality duty: is a duty on public authorities to consider or think about how their policies or decisions affect people who are protected under the Equality Act. Private organisations and individuals don’t have to comply with the duty. If a public authority hasn’t properly considered it’s public sector equality duty, you can challenge it in the courts. Equality & Human Right’s Commission
In truth the Home Office have had a legal duty to ensure that their practices don’t discriminate against Blokes since the Sex Discrimination Act was introduced back in 1976. So one of the main things that the relatively recent Public Equality Duty brought to the table was a duty on bodies like the Home Office not to wait until some put upon minority has to scream ‘discrimination’ before doing something about inequities.
Instead they now must proactively consider wether or not their policies might produce outcomes that are (however unintentionally) a bit anti-bloke, or for that matter anti-women, or anti-any other particular blend of personal characteristic specifically protected under equality law.
The public sector equality duty also creates an additional layer of accountability and transparency because when the Home Office are undertaking their duty to proactively ask the question ‘might our proposed policy produce an outcome that is (however unintentionally) a bit anti-bloke?’, they are supposed to consult with all relevant stakeholders.
And there lies a major problem… who speaks for the average bloke?
Let’s start with the exceptionally generous proposition that absolutely no one individual working for the Home Office is genuinely a tad man hatey or would consciously conspire to produce outcomes that ultimately discriminate against them.
In fairness this is also a generally realistic perspective to have because people paid to produce, propagate and perform public policy aren’t often inclined to openly admit to any personal prejudices they may hold.
So with that thought in mind let’s consider if any of the Home Office’s outcomes unintentionally or indirectly discriminate against the average bloke. When we type the question ‘Is the Home Office biased against men?’ into your average popular search engine, the majority of results will point in one very specific direction so let’s start there.
EYEspeak of course about domestic violence.
The specific reason EYEstarted this blog was because I began to realise how much the deck appears to be stacked against men in this particular area and the quite remarkable manner in which anyone advocating on behalf of men’s rights in general are lampooned and demonised by the very people in our popular press who present themselves as champions of gender equality.
As the dear daughter’s of Mumsnet have so eloquently helped to prove recently, even whispering the notion of equitable rights for male victims of domestic abuse can be welcomed with the suggestion that you are a misogyonistic arse.
In fairness, it’s a possibility EYEhave reflected on time and time again as I’ve prepared articles for this blog.
After all, as many self identifying feminists will tell you that the FACT is that 2 women are killed by their partner or ex partner every week, 94% of defendants in domestic abuse related court cases are men and over 90% of cases discussed at Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences involve female victims.
Which all makes my perspective a tad ‘what about teh menz’ and, more importantly, it has the potential to distract focus and resources away from those in most need and ultimately serve to put women’s lives in risk.
Case closed you would think… but then again…
EYEwas brought up to spare a thought for the little guy and have spent most of my life championing the rights of minorities and the social excluded so even if we start from the most radically feminist, left of centre, politically correct perspective going and assume that the only male victims of patriarchal partner abuse are those in homosexual relationships….surely the Home Office still has a duty to ensure that they don’t fall between the cracks when it comes to publicly funded services in a sector that is dominated by women’s groups largely offering women only services in an exclusively women only safe space environment?
But as the Home Office themselves will acknowledge the examples of partner abuse that reach the courts are just the tip of the iceberg of a much more murky matter.
And as the Head of Woman’s Aid will tell us when she is demanding an end to Tory austerity cuts (affecting their specific funding streams), the Home Office estimate that over 2 million people will experience intimate partner abuse, even if most of the time it sounds like she’s only interested in offering services to two out of every three potential clients.
It’s a much more complicated picture where last year one out of every 5 people killed by a partner or ex partner were men and female convictions for domestic abuse have quadrupled.
It’s a much more confusing picture where it is understood that men are significantly less likely to seek help because of pride, fear of losing their children, fear of being perceived as a perpetrator or sometimes more simply because so often so little helps seems to be available.
And it’s a regrettably much more fractured picture where many domestic abuse services refuse to serve men, where the women who founded the second biggest charity in the sector believes it has has been dangerously undermined by toxic feminism, where some argue feminists regularly cherry pick and even falsify data and where one of the most high profile groups lauded for lobbying against cuts to domestic abuse services promote the mantra ‘good night men’s rights’.
Which goes some way to explaining why we live in a country where despite all these equality duties, Council’s don’t always talk to men when they’re consulting stakeholders, a Police Commissioner can show her contempt towards male victims after one dared to criticise her Force’s especially one sided message and while an extra £80 million was recently ring fenced for the Home Office’s strategy to address Violence against Women and Girls, the boys are unfairly and unnecessarily left on the out in the cold.
Which all goes some way to explaining why the Home Office lead Disrespect No Body campaign aimed at preventing teenagers from becoming perpetrators and victims of relationship abuse is fronted by a television advert presenting five examples of partner abuse with every single one of them involving a female victim and a male perpetrator.
After all you’d be a misogynistic arse to suggest that men can be victims too and besides who on earth would listen to you.