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Page last updated at 07:18 GMT, Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Male abuse is 'being ignored'
By Jim Reed
Newsbeat reporter

Actor showing depressed man
Men in their 20s are increasingly becoming victims of abuse

Men in their early 20s are just as likely to be abused by their partners as women, according to the latest government figures seen by Newsbeat.

6.4% of men in England and Wales between the ages of 20 and 24 say they were victims over the last year, compared with 5.4% of women.

The official definition of partner abuse includes non-physical forms like emotional bullying.

It also means more serious behaviour like threats and severe force.

'Women more likely'

Overall women are more likely to be abused in general and to be the victims of stronger physical violence.

Across all age ranges, one in four women have been abused compared with one in six men.

But analysis of the latest figures from the Home Office shows the problem is more evenly spread between the sexes in the early stages of a young relationship

Mark Brooks from the men's health charity Mankind reckons the issue of male domestic abuse is often ignored by the government, social services and the police.
More and more men will come forward when they realise they are not the only ones being abused
Kevin Edgar from Masa

"In the UK as a whole there are 500 refuges for female victims and that is probably not enough," he told Newsbeat.

"There are only 12 for male victims. Overall services for men are 35 years behind those available for women and that's simply not good enough."

Women are still more likely to be repeatedly abused in the home than men and to be physically harmed.

The latest Home Office figures for 2007/8 show 2.2% of women of any age said their partner used minor or severe force against them over the last year. The figure for men was slightly lower at 2.0%.

Kevin Edgar from Masa, which operates a helpline for abused men, says blokes can be slow to come forward and recognise the problem.

"Often there are children involved and they don't want to leave them with a violent partner. They do feel a sense of shame in what's happened even though that's illogical.

"More and more men will come forward when they realise they are not the only ones being abused."

Scotland and Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland 8% of men said they had experienced domestic violence in 2007/8 compared with 15% of women.

The figures for the region show more 16 to 29-year-olds said they are victims than 30 to 59-year-olds.

Estimating the level of male domestic abuse in Scotland is more difficult as statistics are obtained from police reports instead of an anonymous survey.

Official figures from the Scottish government show a 2% rise in overall domestic abuse in 2007/8.

12% of all recorded incidents involved a male victim and female perpetrator up from 8% in 2000/1 although campaigners say that figure underestimates the scale of the problem as men are less likely to file an official police report than women.

A Home Office spokesman said: "The government is committed to working with our partners to reach across communities to victims and potential victims.

"Our national domestic violence delivery plan ensures perpetrators are brought to justice whilst providing the best possible help for victims and their children

"We continue to make significant progress in our drive to tackle domestic violence by, for example, the expansion of specialist domestic violence courts, multi-agency risk assessment conferences and independent domestic violence advisers, in addition to funding a matrix of national helplines, including the national 24-hour freephone Domestic Violence Helpline and the Men's Advice Line."

On Tuesday Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced a 3.5m package to help victims of domestic abuse.

The money will be used to safeguard the future of helplines and provide leaflets which will help families and friends of victims to identify and support them.

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