Domestic Abuse Against Men: An Unacknowledged Crisis


The Law Of… Protecting Men, Too

Domestic abuse cases continue to rise across the UK. A less recognised issue is the rise in reported cases of male domestic abuse – the abuse of males by either females or males.

Family Law solicitor, Jenine Abdo, takes a look at the true extent of domestic abuse against men and investigates what help is available to those suffering from this often overlooked form of abuse.

Is Domestic Abuse Against Men The Same As Female Domestic Abuse?

It is true that more women suffer from domestic abuse more than men. However, the men who do suffer from domestic abuse are still suffering from a similar sort of abuse. The ManKind Initiative, a charity set up specifically for survivors of male domestic abuse, report that 13.6% of men state they have been a victim of domestic violence since they were 16, in comparison to 26.3% of women.

One of the issues with male domestic abuse is the inclination to not report the abuse that is happening to them. Male victims are over 3 times as likely as women to not tell anyone about the abuse they are suffering from. Men who find themselves as victims of domestic abuse often find that they are afraid of being seen as weak and emasculated.

What Types Of Domestic Abuse Against Men Exist?

ManKind emphasise to their clients that domestic violence and domestic abuse is not just contained to physical abuse, which is often a misconception.

Male domestic violence can be:

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Emotional

Domestic abuse can often come in the form of coercive control, which is a set of behaviours that aim to control the partner in the relationship. It usually causes the sufferer to become isolated from friends and family and deprives them of the means to be independent, making it difficult to leave.

One of the more unusual and less talked about examples of domestic abuse include digital and social media abuse. Often this is abuse suffered with former partners.

Digital abuse can take the form of:

  • Stalking
  • Placing false and malicious information about you on social media
  • Being trolled
  • Having no control or blocked access to your content
  • Explicit pictures being used for revenge
  • The monitoring or controlling of emails and/or phone calls

Where Can Survivors Of Domestic Abuse Against Men Go?

There are shelters available to male victims of domestic abuse but places are difficult to come by. According to ManKind, 23 organisations in the UK offer refuge or safe house provision for male victims. This equates to a total of 110 spaces.

Whilst this number is slowly increasing, some cities don't offer shelter places for males at all. In comparison, there are nearly 400 specialist domestic violence organisations providing protection and refuge for women in the UK with 7,000 spaces for women and children.

Men's Advice Line was set up by the government as a port of call for all survivors of male domestic abuse. On their site, they advise calling the Shelter National Helpline for immediate help with accommodation. You can contact the Shelter National Helpline on 0808 800 4444.

What Help Is Available To Male Survivors Of Domestic Abuse?

ManKind provide a guide for those who are suffering from domestic abuse against men. They suggest, in the first instance, leaving the relationship if possible. It's important to recognise that by leaving an abusive relationship does not mean that you are weak or alone.

ManKind say:

"Many men call the charity, saying they love their partner and the partner loves them, but if that was the case the partner would not be carrying out domestic abuse or violence against them."

They also encourage victims to:

  • Keep a diary of incidents, noting down times, dates and witnesses
  • Tell friends and family
  • Keep photographic evidence of any injuries
  • Report each incident to the police and make sure to speak to a trained domestic violence police officer and obtain a crime reference number
  • Keep your diary and phone with you or somewhere safe and nearby as it is possible you may need to leave in a hurry
  • Keep your phone fully charged
  • Call the police if you are in immediate danger on 999
  • Refrain from retaliating.

If you just want to speak through your situation with someone before you take any action, you can call Men's Advice Line on 0808 801 0327, which is free from landlines and most mobiles. They have a number of trained advisors that can give you practical advice and information about accessing specialist help.

They also provide specialist advice if you are in are in a homosexual relationship or bisexual relationship that has turned violent or abusive as well as information for men who have been victims of forced marriage.

How Can Simpson Millar Help?

There are lots of ways in which a lawyer can help you if you have been the victim of domestic abuse, whether you are female or male.

Our solicitors can help you by:

  • Writing a warning letter on your behalf to the individual who is abusing you. The letter will outline that if the abuse does not stop, the court will become involved
  • Helping you make an application for a non-molestation order or an injunction that could help protect you and your family.
  • Provide you with advice if police have told you they have decided not to take action.

Our Family solicitors are experienced in supporting all victims of violence, including male victims of domestic violence. If you're ready to take action, we can help you through this challenging time with expert and non-judgemental advice that is personal to you.

Jenine says:

"The expectations and societal demands on men make them susceptible to silence in a domestic abuse situation. Male victims of domestic abuse often feel they should 'tough it out' because of how they might be seen if they admit to being a victim of abuse."

"The reality is quite different. It takes bravery and strength to come forward about domestic abuse whether you are female or male."

"The statistics around domestic abuse of males is very worrying. It is clear that not enough is being done to protect men and provide them with a safe place to go to."

"I hope that in the fight for equality, there is some focus on the rights of men in a domestic violence and abuse situation."

If you are a victim of domestic abuse, you can call our family solicitor team today for a free phone consultation.

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