This page contains a selection of recent news articles and commentary about male victims of violence and abuse plus related issues. These articles are presented as a community service, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the One in Three Campaign.

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Friends, government turn blind eye to male victims: report

Media release from the Men's Advisory Network (WA).

The WA Government must establish specific services to support male victims of domestic abuse and invest in better training to help health and welfare workers identify abused men, according to the Men’s Advisory Network (MAN).

The call follows the launch today of a ground-breaking report, Intimate Partner Abuse of Men, by researchers from Edith Cowan University’s psychology department.

According to the report, embarrassment, the disbelief of friends and colleagues, and social welfare and justice systems that assumed men were the abusers were among the reasons many men did not report abuse.

Even if they were believed, male victims had nowhere to go for appropriate support and counselling as existing services were set up to cater for female victims of male abuse.

MAN executive officer Gary Bryant said the community could not go on turning a blind eye to male victims of domestic abuse.

“MAN says no to all forms of abuse and violence,” Mr Bryant said. “We recognise that men are the main perpetrators of domestic violence. But that does not mean we should turn our back on those men who are innocent victims of abuse.

“To continue ignoring male victims because of the actions of other men would be a tragic betrayal of social justice and human rights.”

The ECU research was commissioned by MAN, with funding from Lotterywest, and follows recommendations by a steering committee including the WA Government’s Family and Domestic Violence Unit.

Researchers interviewed male victims, their families and domestic violence-related service providers in Western Australia.

They found that men experienced the same forms of abuse as women, as well as one additional form not identified previously. This was “legal-administrative” abuse in which a person used legitimate services, such as Violence Restraining Orders, to abuse the rights of others.

Recommendations in the report include:

• A government-funded campaign to raise public awareness of intimate partner violence against men, complementing campaigns about violence against women and children;

• The provision of publicly funded services specifically for male victims of intimate partner abuse;

• Consideration of how services for male victims could be integrated with services for female victims and general services for victims of family violence; and

• The provision of training for health and welfare workers, to help them identify and support male victims of intimate partner abuse.

The Men’s Advisory Network is the peak body for men’s health, well-being and other issues affecting men and boys in Western Australia and receives funding from the WA Department of Health.

The full report is available on the MAN website

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Male victims of domestic violence need campaigns and services: report

Media release from the One in Three Campaign.

A groundbreaking report from Edith Cowan University (ECU) has found that male victims of domestic violence can suffer from a unique form of legal/administrative abuse previously unidentified in research, as well as experiencing most of the same impacts as female victims.

The Intimate Partner Abuse of Men report, to be launched this morning in Perth, found that “Male victims of intimate partner abuse and their children suffer a range of consequences, such as psychological distress (including disorders such as depression and anxiety disorders), suicidal ideation, impaired self-concept and loss of work.”

It found that male victims are often reluctant to disclose their experience of abuse or seek help because of their sometimes justified fears that they will not be believed, that they will not be assisted or will instead be blamed for the abuse.

The study recommends that government-funded public campaigns be conducted to raise awareness of domestic violence against men; that consideration should be given to providing publicly-funded services specifically for male victims; and that workers in health and welfare fields should be provided with training to assist them to recognise and respond effectively to male victims of domestic violence.

The study’s findings come after the release of statistics last year by the WA Department for Child Protection, showing that in 2007-08 women were responsible for more than three quarters of all substantiated child maltreatment.

Greg Andresen from the One in Three anti-violence campaign said “We know that one in three victims of family violence and abuse are male. This study confirms that these men have almost no services to help them, despite suffering from physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, financial and social abuse just like women victims.

“The study also discovered that some women abuse their male partners by manipulating legal and administrative resources such as taking out false restraining orders or not allowing the victim access to his children.”

In July 2009 the Federal Attorney-General asked the Australian Law Reform Commission to inquire into what improvements could be made to relevant family and domestic violence legal frameworks to protect the safety of women and their children. The One in Three campaign argues that this exclusion of male victims and their children is typical of government approaches to the issue of domestic violence which assume incorrectly that the vast majority of perpetrators are male and the vast majority of victims female.

Campaigners say that making a protection such as freedom from violence dependent on the victim’s sex violates some of the most fundamental principles of international human rights law.

Mr Andresen added, “Some will argue that domestic violence perpetrated by women is not a serious matter. However research overwhelmingly shows that coercion (control and domination) is a frequently cited reason by women for their own use of violence, and by male victims for their female partner’s use of violence.

Other research confirms that women rarely use violence in self-defence. Self-defence is cited by women as the reason for their use of domestic violence including homicide in only a small minority of cases (between 5 and 20 per cent).

Men are physically injured by female perpetrators, and often seriously, because women can do just as much harm with a weapon as men can, despite any differences in size or strength. And children suffer equally regardless of whether it’s Mum, Dad or both being violent.”

The One in Three campaign is calling upon state and federal governments and non-government service providers to heed the recommendations of the ECU study and provide services to all victims regardless of their sex. These include counselling and support services, accommodation services, help-lines and crisis response, and community education and prevention programmes.

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Men can be victims too

‘I was hit, I was punched, I was head-butted, I was bruised. I felt trapped, physically and emotionally, and isolated from my friends and family. I felt such a sense of shame that this was happening to me.’

This quote from a victim of domestic violence is sadly typical of those suffering at the hands of abusive partners — except in one crucial respect. The victim in this instance is male.

Alan Edwards (not his real name) spent three years in an abusive relationship with the mother of his young son before seeking help.

He was verbally and physically abused in front of his son, had his front door kicked down and felt pushed to his emotional limit.

“I’m six foot one and I weigh 90kg, and I would rather be punched in the face by a man than be shamed in this way by a woman,” he said. “You can get over the physical damage but the emotional abuse is so much harder. People don’t even recognise that it’s there for a start.

“The shame comes from a lack of support. If people are supporting and validating me, the shame doesn’t land. Nobody told me that I was right and she was wrong. The shame can’t be relieved, so it doesn’t go away.”

Think domestic violence and chances are you’ll picture a woman with a black eye or bruising, one of the graphic images used in government media campaigns of recent years.

What these very successful campaigns fail to mention, however, is that the victims of such violence can be men, too.

It’s difficult to get a true understanding of the prevalence of domestic violence against men in Australia, partly because of the extreme reluctance of men to report it. However, it’s estimated that about one in three victims of domestic violence in Australia is male, and the effects of such abuse on men can be just as devastating as on women.

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Abuse of men 'hidden epidemic'

Women beating up their men -- whether physically, emotionally or financially -- has become a hidden epidemic because blokes are too fearful of being labelled wimps if they cry for help.

A new study has found for male victims of “intimate partner abuse”, the cumulative effect of repeat “knees in the nuts” or being heaped with scorn is a damaging erosion of self-worth. But a typical response to men who do complain is, “C’mon, you’re a bloke -- get over it”.

Similar to the pattern of abuse of women by men, it often starts with verbal, financial and psychological abuse, but over time escalates to physical and sometimes even sexual abuse.

The issue is even more under-reported for men than women, because men fear either being seen as wimps or not being believed, the study says. Support services for abuse victims are skewed towards females, it adds.

“I didn’t expect that the stories I was hearing from men would be so similar to the stories of female abuse,” said Alfred Allan, professor at Edith Cowan University and co-author of Intimate Partner Abuse of Men.

“Physical abuse isn’t as big a problem for males as females, and when a male assaults a female, it’s generally more severe, but there are male victims out there who are falling through the cracks.”

The study is based on interviews with male victims and service providers working in the field of domestic abuse.

“She would actually hit him with the pan . . . throw reasonably large objects at him . . . punch him to the point of bruising,” one service provider recalled of a client’s interview. “I’ve lost count of how many times she’s kneed me in the nuts,” a male victim said.

The report notes the growing prevalence of the abuse of men by their partner. More than 80 per cent of the nearly 200 service providers in the areas of health, welfare and justice reportedproviding support for at least one man in the previous 12 months who had been a victim of intimate partner abuse, the report says. Some are same sex, but many are female partners.

Psychologist and author in men’s mental health Elizabeth Celi describes the abuse of men by their spouse as a “silent phenomenon”. She says women perpetrators tend to combine verbal and emotional abuse of their partner with any physical violence.

“Given women’s verbal and emotional literacy, a viper tongue can really maim a man’s sense of self-worth,” Dr Celi said.

“Men also face the social stigma of being a victim. Not only is he questioning his own masculinity and identity, unfortunately he is more often than not disbelieved or disregarded. ’You must have done something to deserve it’ or ’C’mon, you’re a bloke, get over it’, are typical reactions.”

Gary Bryant, executive officer of Men’s Advisory Network, which commissioned the study, says it proves men aren’t just perpetrators of domestic violence ; they’re also victims, but with less of a voice.

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Pakistani who 'killed husband' in 20ft Kashmir fireball gets 1,300-pounds-a-month benefits in Britain

A Pakistani woman living on benefits in the UK despite facing a murder charge in her home country was yesterday facing demands from MPs to return there to stand trial.

Bushra Ferozdin Butt, 35, spent ten months in custody after she was accused of pouring kerosene over her husband Amjad Hussain, 36, and setting him alight.

She was eventually bailed by a judge and travelled to Luton, where she had lived with Mr Hussain for nine years.

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