Groups highlights need for domestic abuse support for men

Nick Smithers, national development officer with Abused Men in Scotland, was in Dundee to launch two new guides.

Groups that help victims of domestic abuse should tailor services to deal with male victims’ needs, according to one charity.

Speaking in Dundee, Nick Smithers, national development officer with Abused Men in Scotland (Amis), said there needed to be a better recognition of male victims’ needs.

“There aren’t really services for men,” he said. “There are myths that say men won’t seek help but I would say when there’s help targeted at men they will take it up.

“The support services are targeted at women but women-to-men abuse does happen too.”

Mr Smithers was in Dundee to launch Amis’ two new guides. The first is for men who may be experiencing domestic abuse and the second is for service providers, outlining some of the barriers to men accessing support which the charity has identified.

Mr Smithers said: “A lot of men may not perceive what they are experiencing as domestic abuse.

“For many they see domestic abuse as something perpetrated by men towards women but 20% of calls to the police regarding domestic abuse are from men. There’s a strong stigma. Men can feel emasculated and weak.”

The new guides have already been launched in Edinburgh and Amis will do another launch in Glasgow next week. The charity also plans to roll the guides out in the Highlands and Islands.

Mr Smithers added: “The message we want to get across is anyone can experience abuse. Our intervention needs to be needs led. I think one problem with men I’ve worked with is they felt they weren’t listened to.”

Brian Demsey from the charity said: “Domestic abuse is a significant issue in Scottish society.

“Service providers often indicate that, while they would like to support men who use their services, whether they are in same-sex or mixed-sex relationships, they are unsure of how to do that.

“These guides set out some of the issues faced by men, highlight some particular difficulties or barriers more often experienced by men, and offer information and suggestions to help organisations support men and their families, including any children that may be affected.”