One in seven people believe it is acceptable in some circumstances for a man to hit his wife or girlfriend if she is dressed in “sexy or revealing clothes in public”, according to the findings of a survey released today.
A similar number believed that it was all right for a man to slap his wife or girlfriend if she is “nagging or constantly moaning at him”.
The findings of the poll, conducted for the Home Office, also disclosed about a quarter of people believe that wearing sexy or revealing clothing should lead to a woman being held partly responsible for being raped or sexually assaulted.
Although a majority of 1,065 people over 18 questioned last month believe that it is never acceptable to hit or slap a woman, the poll found that those aged 25-39 were more likely to consider that there were circumstances in which it was acceptable to hit or slap a woman.
Men and women over 65 and those in the lower social class groups D and E are more likely to believe that woman should be held partly responsible for being raped or sexually assaulted, Ipsos Mori telephone poll found.
Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, said: “Violence against women and girls is unacceptable in any form no matter what the circumstances are.”
Ms Smith said that more needed to be done to challenge attitudes that condoned violence against women and girls.
She was speaking as she launched a police lead review of whether new laws are needed to tackle serial domestic violence abuses and whether there is a link between the early sexualisation of young girls and violent abuse.