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Abused men suffering from lack of support services

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A proportionate level of services for men to complement services which exist specifically for women are needed

More services are needed to support male victims of domestic abuse, a charity has warned.

Abused Men in Scotland (AMIS) – the country’s only group working to support male victims of domestic abuse – said rising levels of this kind of abuse mean more support is needed.

It comes as new figures on partner abuse contained in the Scottish Crime and Justice survey revealed that of the 576,000 adults in Scotland who experienced some kind of abuse since the age of 16, 178,000 these were men.

Nick Smithers, national development officer for AMIS said the findings of the survey are consistent with previous surveys in highlighting the hidden problem of male victimisation.

He added: “As an organisation we have always understood that domestic abuse is a particularly gendered crime and that it is experienced by more women than men.

“Our argument has always been for a proportionate level of tailored services for men to complement services which exist specifically for women.”

Our argument has always been for a proportionate level of tailored services for men

“A recently completed mapping exercise of domestic abuse services for men in Scotland indicated a barren landscape. Quite simply men who are being abused in Scotland are not well served. This obviously has implications for child protection as well as the physical and mental well-being of men in Scotland.”

Currently in Scotland the government fund the development project of Abused Men in Scotland, a similar initiative with LGBT Youth Scotland and the Men’s Advice Line which is based in London. AMIS believe that much more needs to be done at the national and local level to reach out to men suffering abuse.

The report also highlights that men are more likely than women to have told no-one about their abuse. AMIS’ experience of supporting male victims suggests that there are significant barriers to men getting help.

Gender norms and expectations may prevent men recognising the problem and getting help. The problem can be exacerbated if men do seek help by the lack of male specific services in Scotland.

Aaron Slater is the co-manager of the Male Domestic Abuse Support Service (MDASS) in Edinburgh, the only service set up specifically to help men suffering domestic abuse in Scotland, he commented: “Regardless of gender, under-reporting is a huge issue in domestic abuse.

"This survey highlights a disparity between prevalence of domestic abuse against men in Scotland and actual reports to the police. Interestingly, this report sheds some light on why this gap might exist.

“Men were more likely to report incidents of both physical and psychological abuse in the past 12 months as ‘just something that happens’. This acceptance of abuse is really quite worrying and highlights that we still have a great deal of work to do in Scotland.”



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