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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 September, 2004, 09:25 GMT 10:25 UK
Safe haven for male abuse victims
The country's first refuge for male victims of domestic violence is to be set up in the north-east of England.

It will be run by the charity 'It Does Happen' based in County Durham, offering men and their children a safe place to escape from abuse.

The charity also runs a website which has received 12,000 hits since it was set up a month ago.

The refuge will offer protection to men from all over the region including Tyneside, Teesside and Cumbria.

Home Office statistics estimate that every three seconds one person in the North East suffers domestic violence.

They also reveal that nearly a third of male victims suffer in silence because they are too ashamed to get help.

'Suffer in silence'

Geoff Freeman, who helps run the charity, said the biggest hurdle was getting men to admit they had a problem.

He said: "Many people feel they are not being taken seriously, or that a man should not find himself in that situation.

"Therefore many men suffer in silence. Also if a man leaves home he often loses everything so we offer them the chance to get their lives back on track."

The founder of the charity, who cannot be named for legal reasons, finally left an abusive relationship after being stabbed five times and losing six pints of blood.

The 34-year-old said: "I found it difficult to be taken seriously - when I asked my GP for help, he asked me if I had hit my partner."

Met reports on domestic violence
16 Mar 04  |  London

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