Is it different for men?
There are both similarities and differences for men and women who are experiencing domestic abuse. Being abused by somebody you love and trust can be confusing and bewildering, and any victim whether male or female may wonder if it’s their fault. The emotions they feel are going to be similar, but it can be harder for men to cope with the emotional impact of domestic abuse.
Admitting to being abused is difficult for anybody, but men often don’t have the social and support networks in place to easily tell a friend or family member. These topics are difficult for anybody to raise or disclose, but in particular, men may not have friendships and relationships in which they can open up and talk about their personal lives. Phone lines, like the Men’s Advice Line, will give them the opportunity to talk in confidence.
For both male and female victims of abuse, the message is the same:
- You are not alone.
- It is not your fault.
- Help is available.
What can I do if I am in a violent or abusive relationship?
More detailed information is available for those experiencing domestic abuse on our website here. Here is a summary of some key points:
- Recognise that it is happening to you.
- Realise that you are not to blame.
- If possible, try and seek support in order to end the relationship. Your personal safety is of paramount importance.
- Do not retaliate physically or verbally.
- Keep a diary of incidents, noting down times, dates and witnesses, if any.
- Keep a photographic record of injuries.
- Report each incident to your GP or hospital, if possible.
- Take advice regarding injunctions from a reliable solicitor.
- Seek help from a local council housing officer, especially if children are involved.
- Ensure that you have your evidence.
What can I do if I am in a controlling relationship?
- Services recognise that domestic abuse is not always physical — contact a local domestic abuse service and talk about it.
- Explore what your options are.
- Recognise the strategies you adopt to manage the control.
- Find someone you can trust and talk it through.
- Whilst most victims are female, services do recognise that male victims exist, so talk to them.
- Make records about what is happening and keep the notes safe. Document what is happening and how that makes you feel.
- Remember that someone displaying a pattern of coercive or controlling behaviour in an intimate or family relationship is a criminal offence.
What help is available?
Men have exactly the same rights as women to be safe in their own homes. All statutory services (the police, Crown Prosecution Service, housing departments and social services) have a duty to provide services to all, whatever their gender. Men are protected by exactly the same laws as women — anyone who has assaulted another person, regardless of the gender of either, can be prosecuted.
If you are a man experiencing domestic abuse and you need emergency help you can call the police on 999. If you don’t find the right help immediately, it’s important that you keep looking until you find someone who can support you at this difficult time. It doesn’t make you weak to ask for help.
Find out more about legal aid and options available for legal support on our Injunctions page.
Support services, including specific services for men, are listed on our website here.
The following videos may be helpful to gain an insight into the unique experiences and challenges for male victims. You can play the videos in full screen by clicking the bottom right icon (square corners) on the video.
Further reading and resources
- Respect Toolkit for work with male victims of domestic abuse – Respect, 2019
- Break the Silence – from author Lee Marks and based on his knowledge and experience from years as a support coordinator in this field, this book aims to provide support to male victims of domestic abuse. It covers recognising what abuse is, looking at behaviours of a female perpetrator, advice on how to stay safe, a look at legal options and advice around healthy relationships to assist in moving forward.
Additional support guidance
We need your help to continue our work reducing the risk of domestic abuse. Find out more about how you can get involved!