Violence Against Men – What Support Services & Resources are available for Men


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men can be victims of domestic violence tooGovernment support services and resources have traditionally assumed that domestic violence victims are female and perpetrators male. Thus while many services have been established to meet the needs of female victims, the needs of male victims remain largely unmet.

Government policy and resources have begun to change, demonstrated by studies1 acknowledging and legitimising males as potential victims, however many services are still exclusively focused on the needs of female victim and ignore the needs of male victims. This is perhaps due to public perception that still views victims as exclusively female and males solely as perpetrators.

A recent viral video by the UK Mankind Initiative perfectly illustrates this gendered stereotype.2 The video demonstrates the public’s inconsistent reaction when they witness a male abusing a female and a female abusing a male. Bystanders were quick to step in and confront the male perpetrator once they witnessed him abusing his female partner.

However once the roles were reversed the reactions were vastly different. Onlookers are seen laughing at or ignoring the situation as the woman physically and verbally abuses her male partner. The video highlights that the public will often disregard male victims, assuming that they are probably at fault and should endure any abuse directed at them.

This societal discrimination is particularly troubling when paired with recent statistics from the 2012 Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey. The survey found that an estimated 448,000 men and 1,479,900 women had experienced partner violence since the age of 15.3 While the survey does show that women are more likely to experience violence, it also illustrates that violence against men is a significant problem with approximately 1 in 4 victims being men.

Forms of abuse may include:

  • –          Physical violence
  • –          Intimidation and threats
  • –          Sexual, emotional, psychological, verbal and financial abuse
  • –          Property damage; or
  • –          social isolation4

Male victims can often experience legal and administrative abuse, which is the use of institutions to inflict further abuse on a victim. For instance, a perpetrator may take out a false restraining order or not allow the victim access to his children.5

Male victims often experience similar difficulties as female victims, such as fearing for their safety, uncertainty about where and how to seek help and the dangers that disclosure may have on their partner’s already abusive behaviour. Male victims can often experience additional barriers due to their gender and prominent public belief that males are often the perpetrator. They may suffer shame, embarrassment, social stigma6 or may be made to feel that there must be something they did to provoke the perpetrators abuse. Additionally, male victims may feel that upon disclosure they may be met with scepticism and disbelief by authorities and family or friends.

Services and Resources

General Help

Police – In an emergency, call 000. The police should be called to intervene in the event of physical and sexual violence, or stalking.

Victims’ Support Line – A general help line for all victims of physical or sexual assault, male and female. The 24 hour support line can provide information, practical support, crisis accommodation, counselling and referrals. Assistance and information regarding preparing a victim impact statement. Call 1800 633 063 (free call) or visit the website at http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/vs

Domestic Violence

The One in Three Campaign – Provides information for male victims and a list of appropriate services for victims to access. Currently in the process of seeking expressions of interest for a male support group. Visit the website at http://www.oneinthree.com.au/

Mensline Australia – A generic 24/7 helpline for men covering all relationship issues, including domestic violence. Offers a telephone and online counselling service. Service information and practical advice sheet available on their website at http://www.mensline.org.au/improving-relationships/are-you-experiencing-violence-or-abuse-in-your-relationship . Call 1300 78 99 78 or visit the website http://www.mensline.org.au/

1800 RESPECT – A national sexual assault, family and domestic violence confidential telephone and online counselling service. Website includes information regarding services for states and territories. Available 24/7. Call 1800 737 732 or visit the website at https://www.1800respect.org.au/

Parent Line – Provides parenting support for families and victims dealing with a broad range of matters including domestic violence. 24/7 telephone counselling and support service. Call 1300 1300 52 or visit the website at http://www.parentline.org.au/

Start Safely – Subsidy assistance provided for short to medium term financial help to secure private rental accommodation for victims of domestic violence. More information at http://www.housing.nsw.gov.au/Help+with+Housing/Homelessness/Domestic+Violence+and+Homelessness.htm

  1. Tilbrook, E.,  Allan, A., and Dear, G. 2010, ‘Intimate Partner Abuse of Men’ http://www.ecu.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/178297/10_Tilbrook_Final-Report.pdf
  2. Violence Is Violence: Domestic abuse advert Mankind http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3PgH86OyEM
  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, Personal Safety Surveyhttp://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4906.0Chapter7002012
  4. One in Three Campaign, Male Victims of Family Violence. http://www.oneinthree.com.au/malevictims/
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
Ewa Zieba

Ewa Zieba

Online Legal Information Author at Family Law Express
Ewa is completing a Bachelor of Social Science and Laws at Macquarie University with a major in Anthropology. With experience at specialist family law firms and Women's Legal Services NSW, Ewa is pursuing a career specializing in family law. Special interest areas include the care and protection of children and alternate dispute resolution, with an aim to improve access and participation in parenting matters.
Ewa Zieba
Categories: Support Services for Males, Victims of Domestic Violence
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