New support line for male victims of domestic violence
Research shows 88,000 men across Ireland have been severely abused by a partner
Sean Cooke and Noel Synnott of the Men’s Development Network. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo / Inpho Photography
Male victims of domestic violence will be able to seek support from expert counsellors via a new phone advice line which went live on Monday.
The advice line, which can be accessed on 1800 816 588, is run by the Men’s Development Network and is open for 36 hours each week from Monday to Friday.
It will provide an outlet for men who are experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse in their relationship to speak confidentially with professionals who are trained to advise on gender-based domestic crime.
The most recent research from Cosc, the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence, says up to 88,000 men across Ireland have been severely abused by a partner at some point in their lives.
The advice line’s initial rollout is working towards facilitating up to 5,000 calls a year.
Men’s Development Network chief executive Sean Cooke said that while more women experience domestic violence than men, they are more likely to report it to the Garda.
“Cosc estimates that approximately 6 per cent of men and 15 per cent of women have experienced domestic abuse in their relationships,” he said.
“While more women are affected than men, only 5 per cent of men report incidents to the gardaí, indicating that the majority of men suffer alone.
“Everyone affected by crime has the right to seek support and justice, but our research shows that most men suffer their abuse in silence because they are ashamed and believe it makes them less of a man.”
Thelma Blehein, senior co-ordinator for domestic violence at Tusla, which is the core funder of the service, said: “Unfortunately, the reality is that it is difficult for victims of sexual and gender-based crime to speak out.
“While domestic, sexual and gender-based violence can occur in all social classes, all ethnic groups and cultures and among people of every educational background, they are all too often hidden.
“For both men and women, these forms of violence and the associated crimes can have devastating physical, emotional, physiological and financial consequences, as well as for society as a whole.”