Letter: Violence in London

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Sir: Your report on the research into domestic violence ('Men 'would use force in home' ', 18 January) begins with the statement that 'Nearly two out of three men admit they would use violence on their wives or partners . . .' Further on, however, we learn that this applies not across the country but only in the north London borough of Islington. It is unwise to extrapolate from one small survey.

The number of women in the survey who said that they had suffered 'composite violence' from their partner is just 150 or so; we have no way of knowing if the proportion, 30 per cent, is representative of Islington as a whole, and there is certainly no evidence to suggest that this figure is indicative of the level of domestic violence in Britain.

The claim by the Zero Tolerance campaigners that in London 100,000 women a year seek treatment for violent injuries received in the home must also be set in context. There are no official figures to substantiate this claim - the number quoted appears to be nothing more than an extrapolation from a couple of unrepresentative surveys in two London boroughs.

It is right that we should be concerned about the level of domestic violence, but exaggerated claims of its incidence can only be counterproductive.

Yours faithfully,

PAUL ASHTON

Eastbourne, East Sussex

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