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Providing the right support and care for male victims of domestic abuse

12 January 2023
Volume 32 · Issue 1


This article seeks to update and expand on earlier work published by the author on the subject of domestic violence against men almost 15 years ago. Since 2008, the language associated with domestic abuse has moved on, with most documents such as the newly enacted Domestic Abuse Act 2021 using either gender-neutral or gender-inclusive pronouns. However, men who experience domestic abuse continue to feel stigmatised and ignored by a discourse and framework that are still largely female oriented and driven. The article proposes approaches that the nurse can use to support men who experience domestic abuse.

In the 14 years since the author first published an article on domestic violence against men (Barber, 2008), there have been changes in the definitions and meaning of domestic abuse and violence, as well as in the experiences of those affected, and in the availability of support and resources. The changes mean that the issue is now also considered from the perspective of male victims, with greater awareness and understanding of men's experiences (Varney, 2016; Safe Lives, 2019; Respect, 2019).

This article seeks to update, discuss and explore the issues related to male victims and survivors of domestic abuse in the context of the earlier work (Barber, 2008).

Domestic abuse and violence can be a contentious issue, partly due to the occupation of ‘gendered spaces' of the phenomenon and related issues (Khalida et al, 2013; Chelliah, 2016). Further issues that make the subject contentious include a lack of consensus on what constitutes domestic abuse and violence, the lack of appropriate support structures for victims, and the historical stigma often associated with the experiences of those affected, which can be both common to and different for all genders (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), 2014). Although much has been written about domestic violence and abuse, this has generally been from the standpoint of the female as the victim and survivor, with the male taken to be the perpetrator and aggressor (Women's Aid, 2022a). The scope of this article is to focus on the experience of men who are victims and survivors, rather than perpetrators.

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