Domestic Abuse happens to men too. In the UK, 40 % of domestic abuse victims are male: for every five victims, three will be female, two will be male. We know that men's experience of domestic abuse can differ from that of women, but the key factors of isolation, degradation and control are universal.
Leicestershire domestic abuse support services are open to men and women. Leicestershire currently does not offer refuge places for adult males, but victims can be supported to access alternative emergency accommodation.
Professionals should consider the risks to male victims as seriously as they would female victims, by offering appropriate support and signposting advice.
Barriers to disclosure and support:
- Domestic abuse against men is taboo and as such is rarely discussed. For this reason, male victims can find it difficult to understand what is happening to them. Taboos may be further pronounced where the victim is from a BME background.
- Men may experience less encouragement to seek help. We know that male victims are unlikely to speak to even close friends about their abuse, due to fear and embarrassment. As a result, males may have limited access to support and encouragement from friends and family members, who might otherwise support their journey away from abuse.
- Agencies may be unfamiliar with identifying and responding to males as victims. Agencies may be more used to viewing males in the role of perpetrator so may be unused to identifying the signs of domestic abuse or skilling staff to signpost to local specialist domestic abuse agencies. For this reason, males may have experienced an inappropriate or unhelpful reception when disclosing their experiences.
- Men may not realise that there is help out there. Victims may be reluctant to seek help due to an assumed lack of services and therefore alternatives to their situation. Professionals have a key role to play in supporting male victims to recognise what is happening to them and offer routes out of abuse.
- Men in same-sex relationships may experience further vulnerabilities. Men in same-sex relationships may experience additional barriers to seeking help as they may be confused about what is happening to them. Victims may feel unsure about how to discuss their sexuality with a support service for fear of rejection. Victims may be manipulated and confused by their abuser, being told that violence is "normal", including sexual violence. Perpetrators may also threaten to "out" the victim or cut them off from accepting social circles to isolate them and attempt to undermine their identity.