When you hear the words ‘domestic abuse’ many people automatically assume the victim will be a woman and the abuser will be a man.
However, the shocking scale of domestic abuse and violence towards men has been revealed in a recent report by the Yorkshire Post, and it makes sombre reading.
According to figures released by ManKind, the male support charity, one in three victims of domestic abuse is male, many in same sex relationships.
Whilst data gathered from four police forces across Yorkshire reveal that 18,646 men reported domestic abuse in 2017/18. And it’s believed that there are many thousands more who are not reporting the crime out of fear or shame.
One case highlighted in the report was that of a successful man with a good job. He had a supportive network of close friends and family around him. When he met his new partner he thought he’d met the love of his life. Things were great for a while, but then his partner started to become jealous of his friendships and their relationship spiralled into an abusive, volatile one.
It was a poster in the doctor’s surgery that made him realise he was the victim of domestic violence, when he realised that everything on it applied to him. But he kept quiet about it thinking that things would get better. They didn’t and while away on holiday, he suffered a violent and sustained physical attack at the hands of his partner.
On his return to the UK he called a domestic abuse support-line but was told they couldn’t help because he was male. He contacted another one but their helpline didn’t open until 9am. Eventually he was put in touch with the Bradford Cyrenians, who he says genuinely did save his life.
The Bradford Cyrenians was set up in 2014, initially as a homeless charity. Because of the large number of men coming to them who were fleeing domestic abuse, the Men Standing Up (MSU) service was set up to support them.
Since being formed MSU has received more than 4,000 calls. The charity supports male victims across the country by providing crash pads, emergency accommodation, a confidential Freephone helpline and secure accommodation. They have also helped hundreds of men to find long-term accommodation. Service Manager, Rachel Chadwick, said; “Because of the lack of provision nationally, men don’t know where to go to, instead they can turn to drugs, alcohol, self-harm and even suicide.”
Stacey Powney, family lawyer at Atherton Godfrey commented: “Domestic abuse is still a taboo subject for men and there is a lot of misunderstanding about what constitutes domestic abuse. It does not necessarily mean physical abuse or violence, and often victims may not realise they are being subjected to other forms of abuse, for example, coercive control, emotional and financial abuse.
It’s also important for victims to know that that regardless of their background, age or sexuality, they are not alone. They do not have to endure these violent or abusive relationships. In addition to the support networks there are legal options open to them too.”
For information or support contact the MSU support line 0300 303 0167
Further information can be found on the Bradford Cyrenians website