How male victims of domestic abuse often end up getting arrested themselves | The Telegraph (UK)
Saturday, January 16, 2016
One in Three Campaign

Male victims of domestic abuse are reluctant to report attacks because they are often subjected to false accusations themselves, according to new research.

More than 700,000 men each year are thought to fall victim to violent attacks at the hands of their partners, but many are too ashamed to report the offences.

It was thought much of the underreporting was due to men feeling embarrassed by the stigma of being a domestic violence victim.

But new research has suggested that many of those who do come forward risk being arrested themselves, after their abusers make false accusations against them.

Dr Jessica McCarrick, a Senior Lecturer in Counselling Psychology at Teesside University, who carried out a study with male abuse victims, said they were often treated with suspicion by the criminal justice system.

She said their experiences were not only dismissed by some police officers, but they could even find themselves under arrest when their partners turned the tables on them.

Dr McCarrick said: “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.”

Abuse charities also claim they are finding an increasing number of male victims coming to them to seek advice after becoming the subject false accusations.

Mark Brooks, chairman of the Mankind Initiative charity, which takes calls from around 1,000 men per year, said: “Over the past ten years we have seen a steady increase in the number of callers to our helpline stating they have been the victims of false allegations.

“The type of thing we hear is ‘my wife or girlfriend has said if I leave, or tell anyone, she will say I was the one attacking her and she was just defending herself.”

“It is an extremely powerful weapon in the armoury of the perpetrator and leaves the victim feeling trapped and helpless.”

Police forces insist they are making great strides in tackling the problem with the number of women convicted of domestic abuse quadrupling in the last decade from 806 in 2004/05 to 3,735 in 2013/14.

But the problem remains still largely hidden and campaigners insisting much more needs to be done to encourage victims to come forward and have the confidence to report an offence.

One male victim who took part in the study, but did not want to be named described how he had been arrested on three separate occasions following false allegations by 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, said his account was not uncommon adding: “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.”

She said domestic abuse must be viewed as a human issue rather than a gender issue with more services and support available to enable men to seek help and support.

She added: “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.”

“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.”

Article originally appeared on One in Three Campaign (http://www.oneinthree.com.au/).
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