Sir: Fran Abrams's disturbing claim ("Just imagine", 23 October) that one woman in four has suffered physical abuse from a male partner is unsupported by evidence.
The most thorough and statistically robust studies of the prevalence of domestic violence are the two representative-sample National Family Violence surveys conducted in the United States by the academics Richard Gelles and Murray Straus. They suggest that around 100,000 women a year suffer serious injury as a result of domestic disputes. That is a shocking statistic in itself, of course, but it does suggest that Ms Abrams should have been citing a battery rate of less than 1 per cent, not 25 per cent. Even on a broad definition, only 16 per cent of couples could be said to engage in violence; the great majority of such acts are minor incidents, such as pushing and jostling, that cause no physical injury, and around half of them are committed by women.
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