More than 40% of domestic abuse victims are men

Thu 3rd May 2012

Traditionally domestic abuse is viewed as a man’s domineering behaviour towards a defenceless woman. The stereotypical victim is weak, small and demoralized: it is easy to mistakenly assume that this is a woman with the abuser being big, bullish and belligerent; a man. However increasingly men are experiencing ill treatment from their partners but not always getting the help and support they need to deal with this.

Establishing the extent to which men are victims is complicated as many incidents go unreported. One of the reasons for this is the reluctance of many men to ask for help, concerned that the authorities will not take them seriously and also because they may feel embarrassed by seeming to appear the weaker partner in a relationship.

Sometimes things are complicated because the violence may be started by the woman but if a man retaliates this can create a cycle of violence in the relationship that often escalates out of control, and may lead to the man being labelled as the perpetrator.

Action does need to be taken and fathers need to be particularly aware of the effect of domestic violence on children where, from a psychological point of view, it is enormously damaging for a child to witness and grow up in an environment where domestic violence is taking place. Children can also get caught up in incidents and be at risk themselves.

The common misrepresentation that women are the only victims of domestic violence is something that does need to change. Incidents are increasing with the UK Government reporting that one in six men will be the victim of domestic abuse throughout their life.

Men who suffer domestic violence, either from a woman, but also when they are in same sex relationships, need to be encouraged to seek the protection the law offers to all, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

Abuse can come in many forms from physical to mental, harassment, pestering and aggressive behaviour. In essence it is someone bullying another. Whether you are a man or a woman, getting yourself to a place of safety is essential together with support in the form of specialist legal advice about the options available.

For further information, contact our family team:

Thu 3rd May 2012

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