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Men: The forgotten victims of Domestic Violence October is domestic violence awareness month and while most will

focus on the one in four women who suffer the crime, most forget about the one in six men that also suffer. The media will continue to highlight the cases of women abused by their violent husbands. Campaigns by women's charities will continue to show a woman cowering in the corner. Television adverts aimed at raising awareness will continue to show a man dragging his partner across the room and beating her. Yet while there is all this coverage, according to the Men's Aid charity it is estimated that in the UK alone there are over 800,000 male victims of domestic violence. 800,000 men also cowering in the corner but unlike their female counterparts, they have more or less nowhere to go for support. The service provision for men is a world apart when we look at what is available to men suffering from domestic violence. While women's aid and Refuge provide over 4000 refuge spaces for women suffering domestic violence, there are only 77 spaces that can be used for men. This highlights a great injustice and a lack of equality when working with male victims. Men's Aid receive no government funding. There is no government policy relating to male victims of domestic violence. The current policy is completely focused on protecting women and girls. The government allocated over 40 million for the provision of domestic violence services. While women's services received 40 million to source support, men's services received just 225,000. There are an estimated 1.2 million women victims of domestic violence and 800,000 male victims. Funding is not distributed equally representing these statistics. 33 goes to supporting a single woman suffering from domestic violence. Just 27p goes to supporting a single man. Now what does 27p buy you in the current climate? and yet 27p is supposed to fund services to provide each male victim with the physical, emotional, psychological and practical support needed to rebuild his life after escaping domestic violence. We live in a country that promotes equal rights and equal opportunities for all but especially for women. If there was equal rights for men, there would be equal services for men who are suffering the plight of domestic violence. The men that are attacked with irons would have a helpline to call. The men who have hot water poured over their groin would not only be medically treated for their injuries but offered counseling for the psychological scars left unhealed. The man who has cigarette butts put out on his chest would have a safe house to go to get his head together. All of these events are real. All of these events happened. Ian Mcnicholl from Hull described how after a 7 hour attack where he was beaten with a claw hammer and a metal bar, his partner was arrested and jailed for 7 years for the catalogue of abuse she inflicted upon her victim over a 12 month period. Sadly Ian Mcnicholl is not a one off victim. He is just one of the 800,000 male victims whose abuse was severe enough to reach the headlines. A minority of cases involving men of domestic violence rarely hit the news and that is why society believe it is a women's issue, but is it? Back in 1978 Erin Pizzey stated women could be just as violent as men, and yet over the last 35 years services and provisions for women victims have come on a long way from the council house Erin Prizzey used to console the female victims in. We cannot say the same thing for services for men.

Men are not taken seriously by the police. The term it's "just a domestic" is used when we witness a woman slapping a man around the face. Men fear they won't be believed and even if there was a chance they would be believed there are few places for them to turn to for the much needed support they deserve. Men are brought up not to hit women. They are brought up to think they are to care and protect their partners but few if any are taught they too can be victims. We have a culture where society see women as victims and men as perpetrators. We need greater awareness around the subject of male victims. We need male only campaigns highlighting men are victims. We need the helplines and support groups we have for women. We need refuge spaces and we need the police to take male victims seriously. It's all too easy for a woman to turn the tables and claim to be a victim herself when in actual fact she is the perpetrator. We need to have equal funding for male victims. Until policies, laws and campaigns change and become gender neutral there will always be silent hidden victims cowering away in fear because there is no help for them available. M Robinson is a survivor of abuse herself campaigning for equal services for male victims of domestic violence and abuse. She has set up the following epetition hoping this will go some way in helping male victims get the support they deserve. The petition can be found at and the campaign is in urgent need of support.

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