Domestic abuse against men is less likely to be spoken about, admitted, or considered a problem. The large majority of domestic violence cases concern women victims and yet there is still a huge amount of men who suffer in silence due to shame or fear of appearing emasculated and weak. Domestic abuse against men deals with the abuse experienced by men and boys, aged 16 or over. This could be in a relationship such as marriage, cohabitation or even within a family. Abuse is not always carried out by a member of the opposite sex. It can be mental, physical, psychological, sexual, financial and emotional.

The Facts

  • 15% of men and 26% of women and aged 16 to 59 had experienced some form of domestic abuse since the age of 16, equivalent to an estimated 2.4 million male victims and 4.3 million female. For every three victims of domestic abuse, two will be female, one will be male.
  • In recent times we have seen the first ever conviction for domestic abuse made against a woman. Jordan Worth was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for abusing her long term partner. Not only did she subject him to physical injuries such as using boiling water and knives against him, she also subjected him to starvation and isolation.
  • Over 326 applications have been made to the Domestic Violence and Abuse Disclosure Scheme (DVADS) in Northern Ireland, since its introduction on 26th March 2018. To date, 40 people, identified as being at risk, have been advised about their partner’s abusive past. The scheme, operated by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, in conjunction with statutory and voluntary partners allows a potential victim to receive information on their partner’s history of abusive behaviour in terms of the risk they pose, enabling them to make an informed choice about their relationship.

The experience of domestic use is different for everyone. Many will question how they could have avoided the assault and may find it hard to believe that the perpetrator could have done such a thing. Experiencing domestic abuse may create a range of feelings such as emasculation, being frightened, feeling powerless and ashamed. Sometimes the person will try to carry on as before and most wish they could just get back to their ‘normal’ life. People commonly talk about having great difficulty just getting through daily, basic tasks. Without proper space and support to heal, many long term impacts can occur such as: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, dissociation, panic attacks, isolation from family and friends, uncontrolled anger and use of alcohol and other drugs to stop the pain are common.

 Why do men stay in abusive relationships?

Studies have shown that one of the the main reasons men stay in abusive relationships is concern about their children. It could be the fear of never seeing their children again or not wanting to remove them from their mother. Other factors cited have been:   a belief that the perpetrator will change, a belief that marriage is for life, having nowhere else to go, a lack of money, or embarrassment.

One of the issues victims of male domestic abuse find is that there are very few places for them to seek refuge. Men need their own refuges and resources when suffering from domestic violence. Unfortunately, the problem is on the increase, but funding is not. Investing in preventing domestic abuse could free up resources in major services like the criminal justice system, health care, social services and legal services.


The road to recovery and survival can be a difficult one. It is important that each person does what is right for them. This includes deciding whether they will talk to a counsellor, get medical help, go to PSNI and/or tell family and friends.

There are various organisations that can help you .

If you are in immediate danger phone 999 

Consider storing these numbers in your mobile phone, possibly under different names.

24 Hour Free Phone Domestic Violence Helpline Tel: 0808 802 1414

Lifeline is the Northern Ireland crisis response helpline service for people who are experiencing distress or despair. Please contact their 24 hour support helpline on 0808 808 8000.  For deaf and hard of hearing, dial 18001 0808 808 8000

Mankind helpline 01823334244 (10a.m – 4 p.m week days only)

Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline.  (Previously Women’s aid up to 31/3/2019)  0808 802 1414

Victim Support Tel: 028 9024 3133

Parents Advice Centre Tel: 0808 8010 722

Men’s Action Network Tel: 028 7137 7777

Samaritans Tel: 08457 909090

Men’s Advisory Project Tel: 028 9024 1929

Cara Friend: Gay Helpline Tel: 028 9032 2023 live chat available via website

Homeless Advice Centre Tel: 0344 892 0900 Out of Hours Contact, Tel: 028 9504 9999

Law Society (Legal and Solicitor Advice) Tel: 028 9023 1614

Disability Action Tel: 028 9029 7880

Have you been the victim of domestic violence?  If you are comfortable to start the conversation, you may help other men in a similar situation.