Domestic Violence Awareness UK

Domestic Abuse, and How We’re Letting Our Male Victims Down
April 13, 2010, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

A short time ago, I contacted the Conservatives with regards to their policies regarding domestic violence, and the lack of coverage that seemed to be given with regards to the male victims.

ManKind suggests that 1 in 6 men are subjected to domestic abuse at some point in their lives. Women’s Aid suggests that 1 in 4 women experience domestic abuse. However, during my own time in a refuge, I was informed that there were approximately 500 refuge and support services available to the women in the UK. However, the level of support for male victims is significantly less.

According to Jamie Doward, (Guardian, 2003), the first refuge for male victims of domestic abuse was not due to open until 2004. According to David Hughes, editor of Male View magazine, (Guardian, 2003) suggests that there should have been 70 refuges available for men. In her response to my contact, The RT Hon Theresa May (MP) stated that “According to ManKind there are only eight refuges in the UK that offer dedicated space to men. “

Yet our country, like many others, is underequipped to deal with domestic abuse.  Women’s refuges are often underfunded and recently, Women’s Aid reported that the only refuge on the Isle of White was due to close due to a lack of funding. If we assume that, due to media portrayal, services aiding women are more likely to receive funding than the likes of ManKind and Mens Advice Line, then this gives a worrying view.

In February this year, a series of adverts aimed at teenagers, with the intention of raising awareness of domestic abuse, was launched. Although these adverts were effective, they were flawed in the fact that, despite several versions of the advert being made available, each time the public were shown a male perpetrator and a female victim. Although May states in her letter to me that ” ‘male culture’ itself is resistant to viewing men as victims and can discourage male victims from seeking help.” she goes on to argue that change is needed in this area, and that no victim whether male or female should be discouraged from seeking help for domestic violence.

However, a change in attitudes towards domestic abuse against men can only come through an increase of awareness. The media are more likely to portray female victims, whether in  articles, TV programmes or the very rare awareness advert that may be released.  With media playing such a large role in many peoples opinions, it could be through a sympathetic storyline based around male victims that could hold the key to raising awareness of, not only the situation in hand, but in the help available.

Domestic violence is a harrowing experience, but male victims are suffering from added stigma as a result of a lack of media portrayal, and a lack of empathy. Whereas charities such as Mens Advice Line and ManKind aim to provide an improvement in the serices currently available, it will take quite some time before the services available for men in particular are anywhere near sufficient.

If you are a man suffering from domestic violence, you can contact the Mens Advice Line on 0808 801 0327 (10 am – 1pm and 2pm – 5pm, Monday to Friday), or ManKind on 01823 334244 (10am- 4pm and 7pm – 9pm, Monday to Friday)

I you are a female suffering from domestic violence, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0808 2000 247.