The number of men being classified as victims of domestic abuse in the UK has increased by over 80% in the past five years, it has been revealed.
Birmingham Eastside sent and analysed Freedom of Information requests to police forces across England, Wales and Scotland and received 19 responses showing figures from 2010/11 up to 2015/16
The total number of male domestic abuse victims has increased from 34,267 to 62,799 in the space of six years, representing an increase of 83.26%. The figures for women have also increased from 121,179 to 189,044, an increase of 48.60%.
Male domestic abuse charities have said that the release of the figures will help public perception of domestic abuse change and allow more to see the crime is not only affecting women but also men.
Domestic abuse refers to the act of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.
Our analysis shows that among the rise in the number of male victims:
Mark Brooks, Chairman of the Mankind Initiative, a charity specialising in support and care to male victims of domestic abuse, spoke to Birmingham Eastside.
“These figures clearly show that men are are victims of domestic abuse. It is clear though that there still seems to be many in society that still view domestic abuse as only affects women.
What the figures also show are that more men are finding the confidence to come forward and report to the police who will then help them escape – even more important when they have children to look after as well.”
A number of male victims speaking through the Mankind Initiative stated stories in soap operas, including Coronation street, which had a male domestic abuse victim, has given them the courage to speak up and in some cases, even opened them up to the fact that they are a victim.
Closer to home, the BBC Radio 4 production, The Archers, which is recorded in the Mailbox, ignited a national debate on domestic abuse when characters Helen and Rob were engaged in a domestic abuse case.
More recently, male domestic abuse has been highlighted via the Jeremy Kyle show when the host had to step in when the audience members laughed when the male guest, Geoff accused his girlfriend, Danni of being both abusive and violent.
“I don’t want to upset anyone in the audience but if a woman was sat here and a bloke had locked her in a flat and she’d been forced to jump out and injure herself you lot would not be laughing. You would be saying he is a total nightmare, he should be locked up and this is disgraceful. Just because it happened to a bloke it is not funny.”
The episode is credited for bringing to light the issue of male domestic abuse.
Mark Brooks praised the release of these figures saying that they:
“Will go a long way in changing that attitude.”
He also pointed out that violence is an umbrella term that can include finance and emotional abuse, adding it was “not that common” that a man will be psychologically controlled without some form of violence also being involved. Attention on violence can ignore other aspects of domestic abuse, he added.
I was with my wife for six years.
The emotional abuse started first. I was very rarely allowed to go anywhere by myself. When I was it would only be to work and even then she would phone me constantly throughout the day. I tried to leave her when this started, but she emotionally blackmailed me to stay by overdosing on tablets; which I later found out she would spit them out under the bed.
She would also threaten to hurt any future girlfriends I have so badly that I wouldn’t want to be with her. Optimistically thinking that things could get better between us I proposed to her after two years of being together.
This was the biggest mistake of my life- things went dramatically downhill from that moment.
The first time she viciously attacked me was on Good Friday 2008. I don’t know why or what provoked her. She ran into the house, grabbed a knife and as soon as I walked in she was attacking me with it. She then grabbed my testicles and twisted them as hard as she could and would not let go. It was excruciatingly painful. To this day I still do not know what caused her to be so violent. She would just snap from nice to nasty in an instant. The violence only got worse from there.
The second time she attacked me, she followed me around the house punching me in the head, hitting me with a pint glass, knocked me to the flood and proceeded to drop her knee into my head repeatedly. It was ferocious and I genuinely feared for me life. I also remember on another occasion she was punching me in the eye when I was driving around a roundabout, so hard that she bruised her knuckles. I was however later in the wrong for causing the bruising. The most shocking attack however, happened on our wedding night.
She really beat me, kicking and punching me repeatedly. I remember her digging her nails into my cheek, it felt like she was going to rip my cheek off. I managed to get away and ran down the road in bare feet and my wedding suit. I went back because she was threatening to hang herself with my wedding tie. I later got beaten because the cuts on my face ruined our honeymoon pictures.
She was eventually convicted of assault by beating three years ago and given a six month restraining order. She subsequently lost her job as a care assistant. I have been left with a lot of fear and I am constantly on a state of high alert. I am however in the process of explaining my experience to my therapist.
You can check out a short film produced for the Mankind Initiative below, in which they explore the domestic abuse that men can suffer with the self-proclaimed objective of ‘giving hope to all men.’
Anyone who wants to can contact the Mankind Initiative on 01823 334244. If it’s an emergency, call 999.