4,300 men report abuse by women


More than 4,300 men sought support last year from a national charity established for men suffering abuse at the hands of female partners.

Amen Support Services Ltd today published its third annual report, which revealed some 4,303 contacts with the service in 2011.

The Navan, Co Meath-based organisation said the men who contacted it spoke of incidents involving physical, emotional, psychological, verbal and sexual abuse.

A total of 24 per cent of men reported physical abuse, while 38 per cent suffered verbal abuse by their wives or partners. Some 37.5 per cent suffered psychological abuse, while 0.5 per cent reported sexual abuse.

Physical abuse included stabbing, hitting, punching, black eyes, biting and cigarette burns.

Almost seven out of 10 (69 per cent) of the men who contacted the helpline were married. That number included men both living with and those living apart from their wives and children.

Some 23 per cent of those who contacted the service were not married. Amen said just 1 per cent of the men were divorced.

Some 91 per cent of the men who contacted the service were Irish nationals, while 9 per cent were non-Irish nationals.

Amen said it noted a “dramatic” increase in contacts in October last year following its Domestic Abuse Hits Men Too awareness campaign. Some 444 contacts were reported that month, although February was the busiest month with 454 contacts.

Contacts include calls to the helpline, one-to-one contacts with support workers, court accompaniments, emails, post received and text message to the service.

It runs an outreach clinic at Dolphin House in Dublin and holds weekly support group meetings. Due to funding constraints last year, however, the court accompaniment service was suspended for a time. Funding was provided later in the year and the service resumed.

Amen’s geographical remit covers the HSE region of Dublin North East, but as the only HSE-funded helpline for male victims of domestic abuse in Ireland it receives contacts from across the country. It has also received calls from countries such as Germany, France and Nigeria, the annual report said.

Amen director Eugene Wogan said he hoped the report highlighted the difficult “and often desperate” situations faced by the male victims of domestic abuse who availed of its services.

Mr Wogan said that despite well-documented studies which showed domestic abuse affected men, women, children and the elderly, and all races and sectors of society, the stereotype of an abusive man and a female victim was still prevalent in the media and in the attitudes of many government and family services.

“This can have a direct and detrimental effect on many men who find themselves victims of domestic abuse.

“Amen Support Services Ltd. has done much to highlight the plight of these forgotten victims and to redress the balance of the societal stereotypes.”

Mr Wogan said that in the current economic climate funding to many voluntary service providers had been severely cut and that Amen had not been immune to those cuts.

“It is therefore a tribute to the dedication and hard work of our staff and volunteers that we have continued to provide a high level of service to the many thousands of men, their friends and families, who contact us,” he said in the report.

Some 931 calls went unanswered in the 12-month period.

Amen may be contacted at 0469023718 and further information is available at amen.ie