Latest crime figures show police, doctors and councils need to do more to end men suffering in silence behind closed doors according to the charity The ManKind Initiative.
Analysis of the latest British Crime Survey shows male victims of domestic abuse are twice as likely to suffer in silence behind their front doors than female victims and are three times more reluctant to tell the police and four times more reluctant to their GP about the problems they and any children face.
At its national conference in Taunton for male victims of domestic abuse last month, the ManKind Initiative charity said the figures show the public bodies are not doing enough to encourage men to seek the help they and their children need but with a little thought this can be changed.
The charity believes many men fail to recognise they are a victim because of the lack of awareness campaigns aimed specifically at male victims and this is compounded by the lack of confidence in telling the public authorities in the fear they will not be believed. The lack of local services especially in local housing support continues to be a problem and all adds to additional barriers that men have to overcome before they and their children can escape.
The charity‟s five point communications checklist includes running publicity awareness campaigns aimed at giving male victims, including those with children, the confidence to come forward. This includes aiming publicity in places that men will see (and where their partners may not) such as in sports pages and sports clubs, service stations and in pubs and bars rather than in libraries and GP surgeries where men visit less frequently.
Mark Brooks, Chairman of the ManKind Initiative, said: “Everyone has a responsibility to help all victims of domestic abuse get out of the awful situation they face, but the figures show the police, councils and GP‟s have to do far more to stop men thinking they and their children cannot escape. Men suffering in silence need more encouragement to open their curtains to see they have a future and then escape through the front door.”
Ian McNicholl, domestic abuse survivor and chair of the national conference, said “I am certain that if I was more aware that I was a victim of domestic abuse in the first place and that organisations like the police could help, I might have been able to leave the terrible situation I ended up in far earlier. Not enough is being done to help men and the figures show this cannot continue.”
The British Crime Survey also revealed that for every three victims of partner abuse, for every three victims of domestic abuse and for every three victims of stalking – two will be female, one will be male.
In 2010/11, 4% of men (600,000) and 6% of women (900,000) reported having experienced partner abuse.
The ManKind Initiative’s five point checklist for encouraging men to come forward is below:
Why: so men know men are victims, they will be believed and there is help out there.
What: separate/reciprocal campaigns or same campaigns but must spell out „male and female. Gender neutral „all victims‟ campaigns men just assume are for women – must say „man‟ in any campaigns.
How: posters, leaflets, websites, adverts, announcements, survivor case studies, men that men can relate to (sport)
Where: where men go/where a man would not be with partner – websites, pubs, employers, garages, service stations, business pages, sports pages/clubs, football programmes etc.
When: where a man would not be with a partner – weekday not school term or weekend. Tie into national domestic violence week, sports events or International Men‟s Day (19 Nov)