Wednesday 5 August 2009

Violent crime, The Mail and Harriet Harman

The Mail says it's wrong to teach boys not to hit girls. Dressed up in the usual plicrecknessgummad verbiage and attacks on Harriet Harman. I think they mainly don't like it because it was her idea. The Enemies Of Reason has done a very good job of fisking the whole thing. But there's just one small feature I would like to comment on. Part of the Mail's argument against teaching boys not to hit girls is that girls hit boys too. Here's their quote (suitably illustrated) "Police figures reveal a massive rise in the number of women arrested for 'violence against the person' offences which more than doubled from 37,000 ten years ago to 88,000 last year." So the immediate question is what proportion of all violent crime is that. Well, the Mail, to do it credit, does give us a proportion. In the previous paragraph it says "A quarter of all violent assaults in England and Wales are carried out by women". So the fact that three quarters of assaults are carried out by men is not a reason for teaching them not to, apparently.

And of course statistics are always murky. I've had a quick check through the crime figures on the Home Office's Research Development Statistics site. The latest figures for overall violence against the person (visible here in an Excel file) are 81% carried out by men, 14% by women, and 5% by both. The domestic violence figures are close to the Mail's so that, I assume, is the one they're using. That is 74% by men, 24% by women, and 2% by both.

Either way a massive preponderance of the violence is by men not by women, and something needs to be done about that. A summary of the report which sparked this "Saving Lives. Reducing Harm. Protecting the Public." is available here - and the full report can be downloaded from that page - it's a 1MB pdf.

No comments: