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Publication Date : 27-08-2014
The number of Japanese men seeking help from police about violence inflicted on them by their wives or girlfriends in recent years has sharply increased, according to National Police Agency statistics.
In 2013, the number of women seeking police help over domestic violence increased by 40 per cent from 2010. In the same period, the number of men seeking help saw a 4.1-fold increase, according to NPA data.
The cause of the trend remains unclear. However, one probable factor may be a change in the circumstances surrounding men today, specialists said.
“In this day and age, men may just find it easier to seek advice [about their suffering caused by their female partners],” one expert said.
Since the enactment of the Law on the Prevention of Spousal Violence and the Protection of Victims in 2001, police have formally recorded their responses after receiving reports about domestic violence. The records do not take gender into account.
When the police interview the victims, they first ask about such details as the frequency of the violence and what form it takes.
They then confirm whether the victims want the police to take action, such as warning the offenders or launching a criminal investigation.
The NPA collects the reports and calculates the number of requests for help. In 2001, women sought help in 3,553 cases and men did so in 55 cases.
Since then, the number of requests from women has increased every year. In many cases, women have become victims of serious violence or stalking.
Last year, police received reports from 46,252 women about domestic violence, and while cases involving men remains relatively low, it has been growing rapidly.
Through 2010, the number of men seeking help had been below 1,000 a year, and in 2011, the number exceeded 1,000 for the first time. In 2012, the number increased to 2,372, and reached 3,281 in 2013.
Arisa Takemori, a lawyer belonging to Aricia Ginza Law Office in Tokyo, which offers legal consultations about domestic violence and other problems between men and women, said: “There are many men who suffer in silence because they feel acknowledging the problem is shameful. But if they feel their lives are in danger, we advise them to ask for help from police.”