The annual Mankind Initiative conference took place on 14th November 2019 in Bristol. Flag DV were particularly interested in this conference to learn more about Intimate Partner Violence, also known as IPV from a male perspective. Flag DV currently receive just 9% of referrals from men. We want to connect with a greater number of DA support agencies who are speaking with male victims and ensure they know that we are here for both men and women experiencing domestic abuse and violence.
Conference attendees were fortunate to hear from 2 male survivors of domestic abuse. These two men told us their stories of experiencing IPV. The first survivor talked particularly about his fears around residence of his child should he make a report to the police and not ‘be believed’. Would he be listened to or would his wife retaliate by reporting false allegations of abuse against him resulting in him losing access to his child? He had been subject to physical violence as well as emotional abuse from his wife. After years of enduring abuse he was admitted to hospital for sustaining serious physical injury and finally reported the abuse to the police. She was found guilty of domestic abuse including causing physical harm and jailed for a number of years for the crime. The gentleman described the path he walked to finding justice. He was positive about the outcome for himself and his daughter who now live together.
The second gentleman explained to us the intricacies of a relationship where control is at the centre of the abuse. Slowly he found himself disconnected from family members and friends who had once featured heavily in his life. He found himself targeted by his wife when he was at him most vulnerable, asleep or unwell, criticised and belittled resulting in the blurring of his identity and self-worth. This man found the strength and safe opportunity to keep a diary of the abusive incidents that were unfolding. These diaries were significant items of evidence that he presented when finally reporting the abuse he had suffered. This survivor shared his story in the hope that he will encourage other male victims to speak to someone and recognise controlling behaviours are a form of abuse.
Other speakers who featured throughout the day included the UK Says No More campaign, Lecturers of Psychology from universities across the country and the Northampton Domestic Abuse Service.
Mankind provide a national confidential helpline for male victims of domestic abuse and male victims of domestic violence, welcome calls from mothers, sisters and friends of male victims seeking information. The helpline is operated by trained people who provide both a listening ear and guidance around practical support such as; the reporting of incidents, police procedures, planning a safe escape and access to DA support services as well as legal specialists like Flag DV. Their helpline number is: 01823 334244