This week on Loose Women, the panellists were joined by a very brave domestic abuse survivor. His name is Ian McNicholl, and he appeared on the show to raise awareness about the horrific abuse that men, too, can suffer at the hands of their partners.
There is a worrying misunderstanding surrounding male domestic violence, despite the fact that 1 in 6 men in the UK will experience it at some point in their lives. In 2012, an estimated 700,000 men in England and Wales suffered domestic abuse, and 17 men were murdered by abusive partners. Despite these figures, male abuse receives relatively little coverage in the media – and is even considered funny.
Domestic abuse towards men is just as distressing as domestic abuse towards women. Ian was subjected to having cigarettes stubbed out on his skin and boiling water poured over him. He was assaulted with a hammer. And this was after first experiencing psychological abuse and manipulation: the same experiences described by many female victims.
Unfortunately, this didn’t mean that Ian was treated the same as female victims. Due to the lack of awareness surrounding male abuse, there simply wasn’t a refuge to which Ian could escape. Instead, he was taken to a homeless shelter – and remained homeless for 18 months.
Hopefully, times are changing. There are organisations out there which can support male victims in their time of need, and help them to find ways out of terrible situations. They include the following:
The ManKind Initiative is a national charity that provides help and support to men experiencing domestic violence, via both a telephone helpline and direct contact. As well as referring men to refuges, local authorities and other support services, the charity does their very best to challenge the gender stereotypes associated with domestic violence. It offers specialist training, gives presentations, and does everything it can to ensure that councils, the government, the police and the NHS all provide adequate services to abused men.
The Men’s Advice Line
The Men’s Advice Line is a confidential helpline dedicated to supporting men in abusive relationships. Their trained staff listen carefully to every detail of their callers’ stories, before offering practical advice and information about their next steps, and if necessary, giving the details of other organisations – such as mental health and housing groups – that could provide the help they desperately need. The helpline is open from Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm, and can be contacted on 0808 801 0327. It can also be reached via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
National Domestic Violence Helpline
While the best-known focus of the National Domestic Violence Helpline concerns female victims, the helpline is also open to male victims. Run in partnership with Refuge, it offers help, support and advice to anybody who is experiencing domestic violence. If a caller isn’t sure how to find a way out, or is worried about harming themselves, their trained staff will help as best they can. The helpline can be reached on 0808 2000 247.
If you yourself are experiencing domestic violence at the hands of a partner, or are worried about your safety, don’t hesitate to seek advice as soon as possible. Remember: violence is violence.