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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 January 2006, 06:28 GMT
Drop-in for male victims of abuse
Worried man generic
Domestic violence workers say men fear they will not be taken seriously
Men-only drop-in sessions are being piloted to encourage more male victims to report cases of domestic violence.

Until now, drop-ins held by Crawley Domestic Violence Action group have been for both sexes, but only five out of 121 users last year were men.

"Nationally, one man in six is likely to be a victim of domestic violence and there is no evidence West Sussex is any different," said a spokeswoman.

The first session is on Tuesday evening at the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Drop-ins for both sexes are currently held in the afternoons, and it is felt that this might be one reason men are unable to attend.

Male staff

The new sessions are to be staffed by men, which it is believed will also encourage more male victims of violence.

"More men used to attend when our staff included one male, but the number dropped off once the staff were all women," said Patricia Cunningham, of West Sussex County Council.

"It is very difficult for men to speak out in our culture and feel that they are taken seriously.

"It is a hidden problem."

Ms Cunningham said she had no idea how many men would attend the sessions but that more may be encouraged as time went on.

"They need to know that all the services available for women are also there for men, including male refuges," she said.

The second session is to be held in March.

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