Domestic violence against men 'under-reported' in the ACT | Canberra Times
Sunday, April 12, 2015
One in Three Campaign

Ben Westcott, Reporter at The Canberra Times

An ACT relationship support service says reported family violence cases with men as the victims is possibly under-reported due to the stigma associated with it.

Relationships Australia ACT psychologist Bernadette Post said while the vast majority victims who sought help were women and children, Canberra men also came through their doors.

"We work with men who are being subjected to violence and abuse by their female partners, as well as men in same sex relationships and mutual couple violence situations," she said.

"It is often difficult for men to report they are a victim of violence from their intimate partner and there is more stigma surrounding this issue for men who are often reluctant to talk about this or seek help.

"It is possible that this issue is under-reported and it is a complex issue with many layers."

Ms Post said while the intent of women's violence towards men was often different, it could still leave a man with a range of distressing emotions.

"It often does not have the extreme fear factor involved in a long term 'power and control' motivated violence," she said.

"However it can leave a man feeling confused, humiliated, manipulated, powerless and shamed, amongst a range of other distressing emotions.

"This experience can be compounded by society's expectations of men ... as being in control, strong and dominant."

According to statistics provided by domestic violence service OurWatch, one in 19 men in Australia has experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner, while one in seven has experienced emotional abuse.

The statistics are far below women, for whom one in six has experienced domestic violence and one in four has experienced emotional abuse.

One In Three senior researcher Greg Andresen said there was a lack of services for male victims of domestic violence in the community, as well as for women.

"We're still playing catch-up when it comes to men," he said.

"They're just not available. I have a colleague who works on the south coast of NSW and it's a problem he sees ... we've still got to work through some of these issues."

Mr Andresen said discussing the difficulties men had as victims of domestic violence in no way diminished violence suffered by women at the hands of their partners.

"We should be supporting all victims," he said.

"We should be supporting men, women, children, anyone who's a victim of domestic violence.

"They need all the support they can get."

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