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On Crime Victims Day, Setting the Record Straight on Domestic Violence

January 22, 2008

Charleston, WV – It's the annual "Crime Victims Day" at the West Virginia state capitol today. A domestic violence watchdog group is using the occasion to set the record straight regarding what they call "misleading information" about statistics on victims and perpetrators.

The West Virginia Coalition against Domestic Violence is critical of a recent billboard campaign that states almost half of domestic violence homicide victims are male and portrays silhouetted female figures in handcuffs.

Laurie Thompsen with the Coalition says this creates the misleading impression that women are frequent perpetrators of domestic violence.

"In reality, statistics show that domestic violence is predominantly a gender-based crime against women."

She says state and national numbers show that while men are often victims of domestic violence homicides, the perpetrators are usually other men: relatives, ex-husbands or ex-boyfriends of the victim's wife or girlfriend.

Thompsen notes that domestic violence services are available for men as well as women. However, for the most part, domestic violence is about men victimizing their wives or girlfriends.

"Actually, women are far more likely to be killed by an intimate partner. A study by the U.S. Department of Justice found that women are five to eight more times likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner."

The group carrying out the billboard campaign claims that men are discriminated against in the West Virginia legal system.

Rob Ferrett/John Robinson, Public News Service - WV