Around a fifth of Lancashire’s domestic violence victims are men – and campaigners say they are desperately in need of safe places to go.
There are only 19 organisations nationally offering refuge or safe house provision for men - a total of 78 spaces.
It is accepted nationally men can be reluctant to say they are victims and worry they won’t be believed
Two new beds will be available in Lancashire as charity Safenet launches a safe house in response to the increased number of men coming forward for help.
The number of referrals to Lancashire police is estimated to be 5,200, up from 4,817 last year but down on 6,003 in 2014. Mark Brooks, chairman of charity ManKind, says more needs to be done to help male victims. He said: “The charity does not believe that services or funding should be taken from female victims of domestic abuse and given to male victims - there needs to be more funding for all victims.”
In 2014 Fylde Coast Women’s Aid employed its first specialist male independent domestic violence advisor to support men dealing with domestic abuse in Blackpool and surrounding areas after getting funding from the Big Lottery Fund to extend our remit and offer a support service to male victims.
Tina Hibbard, service manager, said: “In the second year of the project, the number of self-referrals doubled from 13 per cent to 26 percent with 47 men receiving one to one support. In June 2015, we supported our first victim from a black and ethnic minority background and our first gay victim the following month.”
Det Supt Andrew Webster, head of the Public Protection Unit at Lancashire Police, said: “It is important to stress that anybody can be affected by domestic abuse and anyone can be an abuser. It doesn’t just happen to women – men can be, and are, victims too, whether their partner is a man or woman. We are very fortunate in Lancashire the domestic abuse services commissioned by Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackpool Council, along with numerous other ‘self-funded’ domestic abuse services around the county, offer support services to male victims of domestic abuse.
“It is accepted nationally men can be reluctant to say they are victims and worry they won’t be believed.
“What I would say to these men is that there is more help out there than they might think. The key is to talk to someone.
“The start of this can be reporting any issues to the police.You may feel as though you are the only one to have experienced this sort of abuse, but this is not the case. It is okay to be frightened, confused and hurt. Please don’t suffer in silence – let someone know.”
nYou can contact Safenet at http://safenet.org.uk/ or ManKind via http://new.mankind.org.uk/ and 01823 334244.