Page last updated at 16:34 GMT, Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Confidential advice for male victims of domestic abuse

Man with head in hands - generic
Male victims of domestic abuse will be able to access dedicated help

Male victims of domestic abuse will be able to access help through a dedicated service being set up in Scotland.

The helpline will be launched next month and staffed by trained advisers offering practical advice and emotional support.

Men worried about their own behaviour towards a partner will also be able to seek help.

Communities Minister Alex Neil said the service would reassure male victims of abuse that help is available.

The 'Men's Advice Line' will offer confidential advice and support to male domestic abuse victims and anyone concerned about a friend or family member.

A separate arm of the helpline, called 'Respect', will also allow men who are worried they are being abusive towards a partner to seek help to change their behaviour.

Support available

Police forces across Scotland recorded 53,681 incidents of domestic abuse in 2008-09, with men the victims in 7,336 cases.

Mr Neil said domestic abuse could have "utterly dire consequences" on the lives of victims.

He said: "Domestic abuse is unacceptable, whether it is carried out by a man or a woman.

"This helpline allows us to send a strong message to male victims that they are not alone, it is the right thing to do to talk about it and that help and support is available."

On one occasion my wife told me if I went to sleep I would be stabbed
Mr B, domestic abuse victim

Mark Ward, national co-ordinator for the Men's Health Forum Scotland, said: "Respect and the Men's Advice Line are valuable resources for both men who are abusive and want to change their behaviour, and for those men who are themselves victims of abuse."

Earlier this year campaigners called on the Scottish government to address the needs of male victims.

One victim told MSPs on the Scottish Parliament's public petitions committee he had no-one to turn to while he was being abused by his ex-wife.

The man, identified only as Mr B, said: "My ex-wife threatened me a few times with a knife.

"On one occasion she told me if I went to sleep I would be stabbed."

He said the items she had thrown at him included a hot deep-fat fryer, cups and ornaments, leaving holes in the walls.

She also kicked him in the groin, spat on him and scratched his face and arms until they bled.

"I think it would have felt beneficial if I had somebody to speak to," he told MSPs.

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