“It’s time male victims of domestic violence were taken seriously”
Dr Jessica McCarrick (pictured above), a Senior Lecturer in Counselling Psychology and Chartered Psychologist at Teesside University, said that men are often arrested under false accusations and their disclosures of victimisation are initially dismissed.
She is calling for more to be done to support male victims of intimate partner violence – encouraging men to report abuse and feel assured they will be taken seriously.
The number of women convicted of perpetrating domestic abuse has more than quadrupled in the past ten years from 806 in 2004/05, to 3,735 in 2013/14. Statistics show that an average of one third of domestic abuse victims are male.
One man she interviewed, who did not want to be named, said he was arrested on three separate occasions following false counter allegations from his wife.
He said: “In the latest incident I made the initial complaint to police as my wife assaulted me. But when they arrived, they showed little concern and instead arrested me because my wife made a counter allegation. I certainly feel that more compassion and empathy needs to be shown towards male victims of domestic violence.”
Dr McCarrick, who works within Teesside University’s School of Social Sciences, Business & Law, says that this type of account is not at all uncommon.
“Within my research, the predominant experience is of men being arrested under false charges and their disclosures of being the victim are not taken seriously, despite having evidence.
“Men find it incredibly difficult to talk about their experiences of domestic violence because of the shame and emasculation they feel is associated with it. To find the courage to speak out, only to be accused of violence themselves, is incredibly disheartening and ultimately prevents countless men from reporting intimate partner violence.”
Dr McCarrick is calling for more understanding of the emotional experiences of men and encouraging a more balanced, gender-informed perspective of domestic violence.
Intimate partner violence should be viewed as a human issue rather than a gender issue, argues Dr McCarrick and there should be more services and support to enable men to seek the help and sanctuary they desperately require.
“Campaigners and researchers made waves in the 1970’s, which had a positive impact and improved service provision for women – it is time to do the same for men.”
She added: “Promoting awareness of the plight of male survivors may encourage men to report abuse and feel assured that they will be taken seriously.
“Intimate partner violence is an issue which affects men and women within both heterosexual and homosexual relationships and I would like to see increased funding to improve service provision and development in order to support all people affected by this issue.”
Harbour offers support to men and women affected by an abusive relationship across Teesside.
Harbour Counselling Service – Tel 03000-202525 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Safe Newcastle runs The Men’s Advice Line on 0808-8010327 (free from landlines and most mobiles)
The Meadows Sexual Assault Referral Centre specialises in supporting men and women who have experienced sexual assault across County Durham Tel 0191-3018554.