Male victims are over three times more likely than women to keep quiet when they suffer from domestic abuse due to the stigma of being a male victim. Bradford Cyrenians are working to counter this, and make sure male victims know they are not alone.
“13.2% of men stated that they have been a victim of domestic abuse from the age of 16.”
It is widely known that women are the primary victims of domestic abuse: for every 3 victims of domestic abuse, 2 will be female. In 2016 27.1% of women stated that they have been a victim of domestic abuse from the age of 16, compared with just 13.2% of men.
But 13.2% is still a sizeable chunk of the population: it equates to millions of male victims. It is estimated that one in six men suffer from domestic abuse in their lifetime, and while this is less than the proportion of women (one in four), the services available to men are limited to a disproportionate value. It is estimated that there are only a maximum of 70 available refuge places for male victims of domestic abuse, compared with the 7500 available for women.
This is what makes Bradford Cyrenians unique: not only do they focus on supporting ex-offenders of all genders, they also provide a service that specifically targets men who have been victims of domestic abuse and subsequently ended up homeless. The group was founded in 1972 when a group of volunteers opened a soup run for the homeless and observed the lack of services available to rough sleepers in Bradford, particularly homeless men.
“While women are more frequently the victims of abuse, they are also more likely to report their suffering, and the provision of refuge for female victims is far more extensive.”
I spoke with Nikasha Khan, Service Manager at the Men Standing Up Service at Bradford Cyrenians, who talked specifically about the male domestic abuse service set up in September 2014. She described how it was “tailored to each individual’s needs” before outlining the “5 key elements to the service”. These include a confidential telephone helpline service, 2 emergency accommodation “crash pads” for men in crisis to stay for up to 14 days, 5 units of longer term furnished accommodation with support, a floating support service to assist clients out in the community or in their own accommodation, and a peer support group which acts as a platform for service users to talk to their peers about their experiences. Nikasha highlighted the importance of keeping the telephone helpline confidential, as she found that speaking anonymously made victims more open.
Nikasha stated that “The Men Standing Up service aims to support victims and survivors of domestic abuse so they are no longer in fear of being oppressed, isolated or intimidated”, as often the pain of male domestic abuse victims is neglected. While women are more frequently the victims of abuse, they are also more likely to report their sufferings, and the provision of refuge for female victims is far more extensive. Bradford Cyrenians aims to reduce the stigma attached to being a male victim and deal with the growing need for male refuge, particularly in regards to escaping domestic abuse situations.
“The Men Standing Up service aims to support victims and survivors of domestic abuse so they are no longer in fear of being oppressed, isolated, or intimidated.”
More information about Bradford Cyrenians and the services they offer can be found at http://www.bradfordcyrenians.org.uk/
Statistics about the domestic violence suffered by men are available at http://new.mankind.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/30-Key-Facts-Male-Victims-February-2017-1.pdf