For my blog I wanted to write about a male victim of domestic abuse that I have supported. It can be easy to think that domestic abuse only affects women, but statistics say that 576,000 men (2.5% men) and 1.2 million (4.8% women) were victims of domestic abuse in 2018/19 (*stat from ManKind). I hope by reading Martin's story it highlights to men that help is out there, here at Next Chapter we will support any victim of domestic abuse - regardless of gender! 

(Name changed for safety reasons)

Martin had been with his partner, who had suffered with a twenty-year drug addiction, for twelve years. There was three children in the family, all of which were under Children’s Social Care after concerns had been raised by the school due to non-attendance. He was the sole carer in the household for his partner and the children.

Following a serious incident of domestic abuse toward Martin by his partner, he was advised to seek support from The Next Chapter. When Martin first engaged in our services he made it very clear that he loved his partner and had no intention of leaving her. He said that he wanted support, as he often felt tearful and overwhelmed by the situation. He also felt embarrassed as it was ‘his job as a man’ to take care of his family and keep them safe. 

Martin informed me that they have both been struggling for years but were too frightened to seek support because of Social Care becoming involved. Martin’s sister had her children taken away from her due to drug abuse, which is where the fear came from. He had previously served a custodial sentence for drug related offences when he was young and his partner was struggling with an addiction.

Martin said that he will do anything he needs to keep his family together. When he was younger, he was put into foster care with his brothers and sisters - this is why he had such a need to keep his family together. 

Martin was on one years’ probation at this time, an Order made by the Court for the children’s lack of school attendance, and was becoming increasingly concerned as contact with his probation officer had been sporadic due to the national lock-down. More stress being added to the situation.

Martin was provided with the contact details of a men’s domestic abuse support organisation. A referral was made so that he could access counselling. Contact was made with the other professionals involved with the family to see what best support could be put into place. 

As a result of everyone working together, Martin and his family received the support they so desperately needed. Social Care helped with things like the cost of new school uniforms and clothing for the children. Both Martin and his partner engaged in counselling to help them move forward.

In our last conversation he expressed how overwhelmed they felt by all the support they had received and that he felt like a weight had been lifted. His partner was responding well to her programme, the children were happy and attending school every day and he was busy decorating the house. They were even making plans to marry in the New Year! The best part of his day was in the evening when they all went for a walk together, as a family. 

I hope that by reading this blog it helps to understand that men can be victims. Please don't feel ashamed to reach out for support, Martin did and his family are better for the support they have received  

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year! 

(ps. here are some useful links for male domestic abuse helplines)