Male Victims of Domestic Violence
While domestic, sexual and gender-based violence have recently emerged as an increasingly important topics both in Ireland and in the international community, they have been framed principally with respect to violence against women, particularly sexual violence. These abuses were portrayed simply as cases of male perpetrators and female victims. However, it is now widely accepted in Ireland that both men and women can be victims and perpetrators of violence in the home.
Considerable progress has also been made in the area of research over the past number of years. We now know a lot more about the gender prevalence of domestic violence than we did at that time. Watson and Parsons (2005) definitive piece of research on domestic violence carried out for the National Crime Council found that:
• 15% of women and 6% of men suffer severe domestic abuse
• 29% of women and 26% of men suffer domestic abuse when severe abuse and minor incidents are combined
• 13% of women and 13% of men suffer physical abuse or minor physical incidents and
• 29% of women (1 in 3) and only 5% of men (1 in 20) report to the Gardaí.
The study suggested that in the region of 88,000 men and 213,000 women in Ireland have been severely abused by a partner at some point in their lives.
While, at first glance, the above seems to suggest that women and men experience similar levels of domestic abuse, one must bear in mind that the impact and severity of abuse experienced by women is much greater than that by men particularly for more severe behaviours. That said, men, like women, deserve protection against these abuses.
What Help is Available?
Men have exactly the same rights as women to be safe in their own homes. All statutory services (such as the Gardaí, Courts, and social services) have a duty to provide services to all, whatever their gender. Men are protected by exactly the same laws as women - anyone who has assaulted another person, regardless of the gender of either, can be prosecuted.
If you are a man experiencing domestic violence and you need emergency help you can call the Gardaí on 999 or 112
Men who are living with domestic abuse can contact Amen which is a voluntary group which provides a confidential helpline, information and a support service for male victims of domestic abuse. You can contact them by calling (046) 9023718, it is open from 9am to 5pm Monday – Friday.
Men who have experienced sexual abuse can contact their local Rape Crisis Centre or the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 1800 778 888 (operated by Dublin Rape Crisis Centre) for support and information. One in Four(01 6624070) also provides support to individuals who have, or are concerned about someone who has, experienced sexual violence or abuse. Rape Crisis Centres and One in Four also provide support and information to adults who have experienced sexual abuse in their childhood.