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Wednesday
Jul182018

Sad news for male victims of family violence in Scotland - please help

There is some very worrying news out of Scotland where one of the pioneers and world leaders in supporting male victims of family violence - Abused Men in Scotland (AMIS) - is in danger of closing its doors.

These quotes are from their latest newsletter. Please support them if you possibly can.

Editorial from Iris Quar, Services Manager, AMIS

We are putting out this special edition of the newsletter to alert our supporters, service users and other stakeholders to the fact that we are in a state of financial crisis.  For some time, our main funder has been the BIG Lottery.  Unfortunately, because of increased funding requests, with no increase in the pot from which funding is granted, the BIG Lottery have reluctantly refused our request for future funding.  I say reluctantly because we have been told by them that our application was of a high quality and, although they see the value in and the demand for our service, tough decisions had to be made. 

Because they believe in our service, the Big Lottery have referred us for pro bono support to Community Enterprise, who are supporting us in exploring alternative funding options.  We are very fortunate to have the support of individuals and groups in the public, private and third sector who are doing all they can to help; and for that we thank them.  We have also benefited greatly from the pro bono input of Indigo, a renowned media and public relations organisation, at this time of crisis. 

We are in discussions with the Scottish Government in relation to the provision of services for male victims of domestic abuse.  Unfortunately, due to the Cabinet reshuffle and the Summer recess, progress is unlikely to be made on the issue before the return of Parliament at the beginning of September.  But we are busy preparing for then in the meantime. 

We have been invited to take part in a programme devoted to male victims of domestic abuse on the Kaye Adams Programme on Wednesday 25th July 2018 on Radio Scotland and hopefully will get the opportunity during that to give an update on our situation then.  We would also encourage any man who has suffered domestic abuse, or anyone affected by or concerned about the domestic abuse of a male family member, friend or colleague or someone with whom you work as a professional, to listen to the programme and, consider calling in to take part in the discussion.       

In the meantime, here are the thoughts and views of some of those who have expressed concerns about support for our service; and their concerns for the future support for male victims of domestic abuse if Scotland loses its only male victim dedicated support service.         

Please feel free to share this information with anyone you think may be interested.  Contact your local and national representatives to let them know your views and to show support for AMIS. 

Donations can be made through our Virgin Money Giving page or by chosing to donate to Abused Men in Scotland when making purchases through easyfundraising.

WHAT WILL IT MEAN FOR MEN IF AMIS IS LOST?

Questions answered by Tom Wood QPM Chair of Abused Men In Scotland

1. How many people does AMIS currently support in Scotland? 

AMIS staff currently deal with 650 telephone and email contacts per year with a running total of around 350 open case files and 250-300 individual new service users each year.

Those active service users receive non-judgemental support with the potential for on-going and face-to-face support, so if AMIS closes in July they will find it very hard or impossible to access the help they currently rely on. Work that is helping reduce the social cost of male domestic abuse will cease.

2. What other impact on individual service users will result from AMIS’s closure? 

Until recently some 20 vulnerable men have been relying on regular face-to-face support through weekly meetings and they would have their support abruptly terminated with risk to themselves and their children. There is no alternative source of this support in Scotland.

 Furthermore, 350 men whose cases are still open would be unable to resume support if/when they need further assistance.

3. Does AMIS have a wider role in tackling the consequences of domestic abuse in Scotland?

Yes, since 2009 we have taken an active part in responsibly giving male victims a voice in in fora, e.g. Police Scotland Domestic Abuse forum and Victims & Witnesses Forum, and in the media. 

And that includes strong advocacy on behalf of the children of abused men, who will become even less visible with potentially devastating effects on their lives.

Moreover, AMIS has built up a vast range of experience in supporting male victims of domestic abuse that will be very hard to replicate if the charity closes. Training for other services based on eight years of experience will cease and therefore male victims’ experience will be inadequate in DA training.

Also, gender-inclusive (where gender differences are acknowledged and the needs of all are explicitly addressed) prevention work with young people will cease, and our planned young people’s web page and text service will not come to fruition. Another generation of young men will enter adulthood with no knowledge they may become victims. Unprepared, they will ignore the warning signs that could have saved them from a life of abuse. 

4. Is AMIS a ‘men’s rights’ charity? 

No, we are a victim support charity with absolutely no political agenda. Our aim is to provide support services to any man (or anyone who does not identify as a woman) over 16, in Scotland, experiencing domestic abuse. We also welcome calls from friends and family who may be concerned about a loved one. We will support any man (including trans-gender and non-binary people), whether in a mixed-sex or same-sex relationship.

5. Can’t men simply access support from other service providers if AMIS closes?

AMIS believes that male domestic abuse victims need specialist support services in Scotland.  AMIS is the only organisation providing a helpline and face-to-face support geared to the specific needs of male victims in Scotland’s communities.

Without AMIS, the distinct perspective and voice of male victims across Scotland will be lost. 

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