Nav: Home

Male victims of domestic abuse face significant barriers to getting help

June 11, 2019

Men who experience domestic violence and abuse face significant barriers to getting help and access to specialist support services, according to a study by researchers at the University of Bristol's Centre for Academic Primary Care and Centre for Gender and Violence Research published in BMJ Open today [Wednesday 12 June].

The study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research, looked at what stops men in abusive relationships from seeking help and how services could be improved to make help-seeking easier.

The researchers analysed interview-based studies of men in heterosexual and same-sex relationships and organised their findings into a series of themes.

Fear of not being believed or being accused as the perpetrator, embarrassment at talking about the abuse, and feeling 'less of a man' were found to be key reasons why men did not seek help.

Men also worried about the welfare of their partner, damaging their relationship or losing contact with their children if they opened up to someone outside their personal network of family and friends. Others lacked the confidence to seek help as a result of the abuse.

The study also found that men were often either not aware of specialist support services or felt they were not appropriate for male victims of abuse. When men did seek help, they did so usually when their situation had reached a crisis point.

Confidentiality was very important to those seeking help from services, as were trust, seeing the same person over time, and a non-judgemental attitude.

There were mixed views about how easy it was to open up to health professionals, such as GPs, but men consistently expressed a preference for receiving help from a female professional.

Dr Alyson Huntley, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Academic Primary Care, and lead author of the study said "Our review has revealed that the experience of many men who are victims of domestic abuse is similar to those of women. For example, fear of disclosure, shame and lowered confidence. Like women, although male victims wanted the violence to stop, they did not necessarily want to end the relationship. Men expressed concern about losing contact with their children and this is a major theme in the wider domestic violence literature."

Professor Gene Feder, a GP and Professor of Primary Care and co-author, said: "While both men and women are reluctant to seek professional help for their abuse, there is an added barrier for men voiced in these studies, that they may be falsely accused of being the perpetrator. The men also raised wider concerns about masculinity.

"We recommend that services are more inclusive and tailored to more effectively address the needs of all genders, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. They should offer ongoing support and be widely advertised. In addition, specialised training is needed to address the specific needs of men and to foster greater levels of trust.

"Domestic violence can have a serious impact on health and wellbeing, so we would encourage anyone experiencing abuse from an intimate partner to seek help from their GP who will be able to refer or signpost to specialist services for ongoing help and support."
-end-
Paper

'Help-seeking by male victims of domestic violence and abuse (DVA): a systematic review and qualitative evidence synthesis' by Alyson Huntley et al in BMJ Open

For help and support on domestic violence, these services provide free helplines:

* Men's Advice Line for men experiencing abuse: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm: 0808 801 0327

* National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428

* National Domestic Violence 24 hr Helpline for women experiencing abuse: 0808 2000 247

* RESPECT Phoneline: Confidential helpline offering advice, information and support to anyone concerned about their own or someone else's violent or abusive behaviour. Monday-Friday 9am-5pm: 0808 802 4040

University of Bristol

Related Primary Care Articles:

Collaboration may improve access to HIV testing, primary care
Getting better access to testing and proper primary care for individuals vulnerable to HIV could be as simple as a telephone call or email among health providers.
Case management in primary care associated with positive outcomes
In a systematic review, researchers identified three characteristics of case management programs that consistently yielded positive results: case selection for frequent users with complex problems, high-intensity case management interventions and a multidisciplinary care plan.
A new approach to primary care: Advanced team care with in-room support
In this special report, the authors argue that the current primary care team paradigm is underpowered, in that most of the administrative responsibility still falls mainly on the physician.
How primary care physicians can make Astana work
The Astana Declaration, adopted by the World Health Organization in October 2018, acknowledges the importance of primary health care to achieve better health outcomes globally.
A structured approach to detecting and treating depression in primary care
A questionnaire-based management algorithm for major depressive disorder in primary care is feasible to implement, though attrition from treatment is high.
More Primary Care News and Primary Care Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...