Tackling the stigma around male victims of domestic abuse
All police forces should be following Matthew Scott’s lead in hosting an event for male victims of domestic abuse, according to Mark Brooks from the charity ManKind.
Mr Scott, Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, held a conference to mark International Men’s Day which shone a light on the issues affecting male victims of domestic abuse on 17 November.
Kent Police Detective Chief Superintendent Tom Richards explained that, while Kent Police will always seek a positive outcome with any case of domestic abuse, securing a charge is sometimes very challenging.
‘In 2016, Kent Police recorded 4,804 domestic abuse crimes where the victim was male. However, the national charity ManKind estimates that as many as 40% of all domestic abuse victims are men which suggests a large number of victims are suffering in silence.
‘Sometimes male victims of domestic abuse don’t have as much faith in the criminal justice system as women. They don’t feel that they will be believed. More work needs to be done by police forces and the wider criminal justice system to give men the same confidence as women, so that they report in greater numbers.’
More than 100 representatives from policing, health services, local authorities, housing services and victims’ charities attended Mr Scott’s event at Kent Police College. The aim was to challenge some of the misconceptions around male victims of domestic abuse and to highlight the support that is in place, both from policing and from those victims’ services which the PCC commissions.
Mr Brooks, chairman of the ManKind Initiative, said:
He told delegates he believes 450,000 men are victims of domestic abuse in the UK each year. Not all abuse is violent. This figures includes instances of coercion and control, forced marriage, stalking and revenge porn.
‘Men aren’t brought up to think they could be victims of domestic abuse. They do not understand or recognise that they’re a victim.’
Mr Brooks added:
Other speakers included representatives from Oasis, DAVSS, Dads Unlimited, Choices Domestic Abuse Service and Victim Support. All have received money from the PCC to support vulnerable men.
‘I’d like to see every police force in the country having a conference like this.’
Mr Scott added:
‘Of course, we must not lose sight of the fact that the majority of abuse victims are women and girls and I’ve previously signed up as a White Ribbon UK Ambassador to be a positive role model for other men. But, it is also clear that domestic abuse can affect anyone - irrespective of their gender, sexuality or background - and we must ensure all victims have access to the same levels of support.’