Myths about Abuse

Domestic and family abuse only really occurs in poor communities

Abuse within the family unit or between intimate partners occurs in all communities and across all socioeconomic levels. Violence and abuse in low income neighbourhoods are more likely to come to the attention of law enforcement as well as intervention services.

The number of people experiencing abuse in any community is difficult to ascertain. Many people do not come forward due to stigma, embarrassment, fear and possible damage to reputation or employment.

Abusers are almost always adult males

Abusers can be male or female. Most cases of abuse that come to public attention involve male perpetrators. However, sexual, physical and psychological abuse is frequently committed by females. People are less likely to report the abuse of a female particularly if the victim is a male or the perpetrator a primary caregiver.

Youth abusing their parents or siblings is often overlooked and rarely publicly addressed. Many adults, children and adolescents experience physical, psychological and sexual abuse at the hands of a young family member.

The gender and age of the perpetrator can decrease the likelihood that someone will report abuse and seek support. This is often related to embarrassment, fear of further abuse or not being believed and a need to protect those that are hurting them

If a case of abuse was that bad then the police would be involved

There are many reasons why people do not report abuse to the police. If the targeted individual(s) is related to or has been in a relationship with the perpetrator for some time it is likely that they have a mixture of often conflicting feelings. These feelings can include anger, embarrassment, fear, loyalty to the perpetrator and confusion.

It is also possible that help from the police was sought and the reaction was unhelpful or unprofessional. Targeted individuals will have experienced numerous serious assaults or threatening behaviour before going to the police. If a report of abuse is met with an unsympathetic police response this seriously decreases the likelihood of future reporting and increases risks to the targeted individual(s).

Abusers and victims are easily recognizable.

There are many stereotypes surrounding what a perpetrator and “victim” should look like or how they should behave in public.

Common misconceptions regarding “victims” include that they are unemployed or unprofessional, weak and submissive.
Common misconceptions regarding perpetrators include that they are tough, have a criminal or antisocial background and are noticeably aggressive.

In reality, there is no “typical” perpetrator or victim. People from diverse backgrounds, professional and educational levels as well as cultures can and are frequently effected by abuse.

People who experience abuse must hate the perpetrators.

Repeatedly experiencing abuse does not necessarily mean that the perpetrator is hated. People can have a mixture of feelings towards their abuser(s). This is often dependent upon the type of relationship between the targeted individual and the perpetrator (s).

In certain cases children, adolescents and adults will try to protect those that are hurting them. This can be related to a fear of being alone, a need to protect the perpetrator and loyalty.

Perpetrators of abuse can be extremely protective, loving and supportive. If the targeted individual is isolated or dependent upon the perpetrator they may have strong feelings for those that are hurting them.

Alcohol or drug misuse causes violence and abuse

Substance misuse can and sometimes does accompany violent and abusive behaviour. Abusers frequently blame their actions on alcohol or drug use. However, substance misuse does not cause abusive behaviour but intensifies existing attitudes and aggressive actions.

Many perpetrators do not abuse others while under the influence. Bearing in mind the distinctive patterns of behaviour that characterize abusive relationships in any context, it is more likely that abusive behaviour is present prior to, during as well as after the misuse of any substance.

Abuse within the family or between intimates is a private matter and nobody should interfere.

Abuse is a criminal issue.
An individual may feel humiliated and at fault for the abuse. It can be extremely difficult to admit that a person is being abused, has been abused for some time and feels unable to leave the situation or report the abuse. The inability to leave often stems from feelings of isolation and lack of self-esteem.

A primary source of support can be from the community. Being aware that support is and will continue to be available can provide the additional confidence needed to end the relationship or report the abuse.

If the abuse was that bad the person(s) would report the behaviour or simply leave the relationship

It must be recognized that leaving an abusive situation can be incredibly difficult. There are often numerous factors which to the targeted individual may seem to actually weigh against leaving. Abuse in relationships is often not recognized as abuse for a long time. The behaviours experienced are often minimized, denied or excuses are made on behalf of the abuser.

Commonly cited reasons for remaining in an abusive situation or not reporting abuse include; lack of access to money or limited finances; lack of trust in others including the police / criminal justice system; limited available housing options and a lack a social support network. After years in a relationship the individual may have nothing of their own and left with incredibly limited choices and resources.

Even when abuse is recognized low self-esteem, fear of intimacy, lack of trust in others and loyalty all can play a vital role in the decision to remain in the situation.

Furthermore, there may be children involved and many people do not want to break up the family unit.

People often lie about or exaggerate their experiences of abuse

It is extremely rare that people will repeatedly lie about experiencing abuse. Targeted individuals commonly minimize or even deny that they are experiencing any form of abuse.




In contrast to popular public opinion, people are more likely to be murdered by a current or former intimate partner as well as a family member than by an unknown individual. In many homicide cases there is some form of relationship between the victim and perpetrator. The intensity or strength of this relationship can be real or imagined.

Victims may be connected to the perpetrator through blood, marriage or living arrangement. Perpetrators may also be former partners, acquaintances or individuals displaying stalking or harassing behaviour. The history and type of relationship can influence motivation and level of risk posed to individuals.

Homicide by a current or former intimate partner

Homicide by a current or former intimate partner is one of the most prevalent forms of murder internationally. A history of physical violence in the relationship is often thought of as the main risk factor associated with partner homicide. However, many homicides occur without a frequent history of physical assault.

Usually more than one risk factor will be present prior to a murder.

There are many factors that can pose a great threat to an individual including:

  •  Extreme jealousy or possessiveness;
  •  A history of psychologically abusive and controlling behaviours;
  •  Substance abuse or mental health issues;
  •  A change in the relationship such as pregnancy,
  •  A breakdown of the relationship
  •  Behaviour that is seen as “unacceptable” or contradictory to family traditions (please see Honour based Violence & Abuse for further information)

External stressors that may precede a murder include;

  • A lack of access to children;
  • Protective orders
  • Financial difficulties
  • Legal issues

Following a homicide many people outside of the relationship comment on their shock at the tragic event. However, there are usually a number of warning signs prior to a murder in this context. These warning signs may be subtle and the build up to the murder gradual. Some of these homicides, particularly murder followed by suicide, are often planned in advance.

The level of risk posed to intimate partners is relationship-specific. It is important that escalation in abusive behaviours or any other worrying changes in an individual be documented and help sought as soon as possible.

Homicide by a family member

Homicide by a family member can be the most difficult to understand. It defies the view of the family being a safe environment. Motivation for murder in this context varies considerably. Substance abuse, divorce or separation and revenge are commonly cited motives for this type of murder. However, many cases are not associated with general controlling, abusive or violent behaviour.

Familicide or whole-family murders are on the increase. This type of homicide occurs when an entire family are murdered, usually by one parent. In recent years, many countries across Europe have been seriously affected by familicide.

One of the most common forms of homicide within the family involves homicide-suicide cases. This usually occurs when a parent kills their child and then takes their own life. Filicide is a devastating and poignant crime. It can be difficult for people to understand why anyone would kill their own child. While filicide is primarily associated with female perpetrators it is more typically committed by the primary caregiver

Some of these cases do involve mental health issues.While the presence of a mental illness does not necessarily mean that there is an increased risk of homicide, it can be a factor. Importantly, it most often happens when a parent feels that there is no other option available. Many cases involve parents killing their children in order to protect or “save” them. Commonly referred to as a mercy killing, these murders typically involve parents who love their children and feel that this is the best or only option.

Contact & Support

If you have lost a loved one through homicide please visit the Support Services page here

If you are worried about the mental health of a loved one please visit the Support Services page here


Mental Health

Dr Sean Hammond

The impact of mental illness within a family can be devastating. The strangeness and eccentricity in the mentally ill person’s thinking and behaviour may be bewildering and frightening.

Mental health services in most parts of the world are poorly funded and overstretched so the burden of care for mentally disordered people often falls squarely upon the family. A mental health diagnosis often leads family members to experience feelings of fear, loss and stigma. Coupled with the fact that contact with extended family and friends often suffers, this can lead to overwhelming feeling of being alone.

However, there are many support groups available to families under this kind of pressure. Notable in Ireland is the Shine On charity:-

Mental health & Violence

Mental illness is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for violent behaviour. However, it is undeniable that for some people suffering from mental illness the potential for harm to the self and others is very real. Studies linking mental illness to assault show that patients with schizophrenia, major depression, or bipolar disorder were significantly more likely to be assaultive than people without these disorders . That said the prevalence rates of violence by mentally ill people is still very small and although most people with these conditions do not commit assaultive acts, the presence of such a disorder is significantly associated with an increased risk of violence. The severity and the particular form the illness takes may be indicative of abusive behaviour but a number of other factors also come into play. Many of these are external to the illness itself and relate largely to the levels of stress in the person’s immediate environment.

Mental health & Abuse

While we automatically think of the person with mental illness as being the potential perpetrator of violence it should be remembered that the sufferer is also more likely to be vulnerable to abuse from others. Within a family setting the stress of being a carer for someone with mental illness can often lead to frustration and rage.

Support & Help

If a carer of someone with mental illness feels that the illness is leading the sufferer towards the risk of violence it is important that the information is conveyed to relevant parties as quickly as possible. The first port of call is usually the family doctor or GP, but once a diagnosis is made there will probably also be other professionals involved like a psychiatrist and social worker.

Bearing in mind the pressure the health system is always under with regard to mental health, it is advisable to put your concerns in writing if possible outlining clearly the sequence of events that are causing you concern and to make sure that copies are sent to each professional involved in the care of the sufferer.

If you are worried about your own mental health or the mental health of a loved one please see the support services page for organizations in your area here


Consequences of Violence & Abuse

Experiencing violence and abuse not only has direct consequences for the victim, but also family members, children, friends and society.

How victims and observers react to violence will depend on a number of factors. Many people expect that victims will appear emotional, generally upset and unable to cope. It is further expected that family and friends will automatically be supportive of the victim. However, peoples' reaction to violence vary considerably.

Individual differences

Individual differences such as personality characteristics, coping strategies, cultural norms, previous victimization and social support all effect the immediate as well as long term responses to violence or abuse. While some victims will be visibly upset, others may appear passive or downplay the seriousness of the experience. Other people may become defensive or even aggressive. These kinds of reactions may ultimately have a negative effect on social interactions and relationships. It may further impact upon any initial police investigation and decrease the likelihood of finding appropriate support.

Emotional & physical consequences

A persons outward or social behaviour is often related to the range of emotions felt following experiencing violence. Commonly reported feelings include anger, fear, anxiety and powerlessness. The presence of these emotions can lead to; a loss of sleep; recurring nightmares; weight loss/gain; increased stress; avoidance of social interaction or fear of leaving the home; substance misuse (including tobacco, alcohol and prescription drugs) or self harming behaviour (including promiscuity). In the long term, these factors can have severe emotional and physical consequences. Recurring ill-health as well as depression and even suicide are commonly reported particularly among those who have experienced repeat victimization. If a person lacks appropriate support or has unhealthy coping mechanisms the effects of experiencing violence can be devastating to victims, their families and friends.


The types of injuries sustained during a violent or abusive incident vary considerably. Whether nor not these injuries are visible will depend upon the perpetrator, their motivation, the relationship between the perpetrator and the targeted individual as well as contextual (the situation or environment) factors. Commonly reported visible injuries include head, neck and facial trauma such as cuts, bruising as well as broken bones and teeth. A severe physical attack can result in permanent scaring or disability. Following a violent or abusive incident many people will expect to see obvious signs of an assault. However, many incidents of violence or abuse do not result in injuries that are visible to others. Injuries to upper torso, legs as well as internal bleeding or miscarriages are commonly unreported or unnoticed by doctors or investigating police officers.


The majority of violent or abusive acts go unreported. Of those that are reported many perpetrators are not convicted or do not serve time for their crimes. This increases the chances of there being multiple victims of sexual assault and physical violence.

The financial burden of acts of violence or abuse on society is excessive. Millions are spent every year across a range of services including criminal justice proceedings and legal aid provisions as well as support and medical services.

Employers and organizations are also affected. Experiencing violent or abusive behaviour may result in decreased productivity, motivation or concentration along with increased absenteeism.

Violence and abuse not only has direct consequences for the victim, but also family members, children, friends and society in general.

If you would like to show your support for those who have or continue to experience violent or abusive behaviour you can do so by becoming a member of vapa. Simply click here to voice your opinion

If you have been affected by violent or abusive behaviour, please see the contact details of support services in your area here




Disability & Abuse

Available international research suggests that people with disabilities are at greater risk of experiencing violence and abuse than those without a disability.

Disabilities include any (diagnosed) enduring condition that impairs a person’s participation in daily life or regular activities.
Disabilities can be present at birth or develop at a later stage. Disabilities can also result from experiencing violent and abusive behaviour.

Disabilities can affect people in a number of ways including:

  • Physical – impairment of mobility or movement and dexterity
  • Sensory – impaired vision, hearing or speech
  • Intellectual / cognitive – impaired cognitive skills including learning or memory
  • Social – impaired communication skills

Disabilities differ considerably in terms of severity and type. However, a disability along with a number of risk factors can leave a person vulnerable to abusive behaviour.

People with a disability are often dependent on others. The need for personal and intimate care such as help with bathing or toileting can increase the risk of victimization. Other risk factors include:

  • Isolation from a social support network or the larger community
  • Lack of physical strength or mobility to escape a dangerous situation or defend oneself
  • Limited communication skills including language or speech barriers
  • Lack of understanding or education about abusive behaviour
  • Lack of clear organizational policies and guidelines on nursing/carer conduct or appropriate volunteer screening procedures

Commonly reported abusive behaviours include:

  • Purposefully withholding needed medication or aids such as wheelchairs
  • Psychological abuse including belittling and taunting about disability
  • Financial abuse including withholding benefits or financial support
  • Denying needed food, water or medical care
  • Denying free speech or access to education
  • Physically restraining or tying down for long periods
  • Physical and sexual assault or abuse
  • Intimidating behaviour including threats to place a person in residential care
  • Use of excessive force during routine care

The perpetrators of abuse are commonly reported to be carers and nurses. However, male and female family members as well as intimate partners frequently commit these crimes against loved ones.

Contact & Support

Contact details of support services for people with disabilities who are experiencing abuse can be found here




Authority & Abuse

Authority figures are given a unique form of power and trust in society. However, this trust can be broken due to abuse of power and position. Improper or Illegal activity by authority figures is driven by a need for personal or financial gain.

Authority figures include anyone who has been given a position of control over others through employment, title or status in society.

Authority figures can include:

  • Teachers or instructors
  • Members of the clergy or religious orders
  • Mental or physical health practitioners
  • Employers
  • Politicians
  • Members of the police force

Abuse of authority and position can be committed by a single individual or collectively by a group of people and organizations. Perpetrators can be male and female.

Authority figures are often extremely well liked, outgoing or viewed by society in general as people that can be trusted. These individuals will often have a large group of supporters. Many of these supporters will unintentionally or intentionally support the misuse of power.

Authority figures will often draw others into becoming involved in improper or illegal activity for the purpose of self-protection. This collusion can be extremely damaging to individuals affected by the behaviour and under the care of authority figures. It may decrease trust in authority figures in general as well as decrease the likelihood of reporting the behaviour.

Abuse of power can involve both contact and non-contact behaviours and range from physical or sexual assault to bribery.

Other commonly reported behaviours include:

  • Covering up the improper or illegal activity of criminals, colleagues, friends or other authority figures
  • Threats to harm or kill
  • Harassment
  • Misuse of another’s personal intimate details
  • Breaking confidentiality
  • Receiving benefits such as money, free food or drink because of position
  • Defamation of character
  • Failure to protect from harmful or dangerous situations
  • Protection of criminal networks

Feelings of powerlessness, fear of retaliation or revenge make many people too frightened or find it too difficult to report the abuse of authority figures. Gaining support and finding justice may seem almost impossible to people affected by this behaviour.

Contact & Support

If you have been affected by the improper or illegal activity of an authority figure it is important to seek help as early as possible. Please contact your local police station here

If you have been affected by the improper or illegal activity of police officers please see contact details of the police ombudsman in various jurisdictions here


Elder Abuse

Dr. Mike Murphy

Elder abuse is a well-recognised phenomenon, even though it only came into the public eye in the 1970s. Documentaries such as the Prime Time Investigates episode on the Leas Cross nursing home have made it clear that elder abuse is an issue in Ireland.

Demographic changes, which are still ongoing, have led to a greater number of older people both relatively and absolutely. This in turn will likely lead to an increase in the number of elder abuse sufferers.

The American National Center on Elder Abuse has produced a typology (classification system) of the phenomenon, which includes:

  • Physical – use of physical force such as kicking, slapping, punching
  • Sexual – non-consensual contact, coerced nudity
  • Emotional/Psychological – threats, humiliation, intimidation, inflicting anguish
  • Financial – illegal use of property, coercing signatures, appropriation of assets
  • Abandonment – by those who had previously provided care and support
  • Neglect – refusal or failure to uphold obligations; failure to provide food, water, shelter, hygiene, medicines.

It is difficult to get accurate details of the level of elder abuse, as those being abused are often reluctant to share the information – fear of further victimization and of institutionalization may lead to under-reporting.

A study in Ireland (Naughton et al., 2010) reported a prevalence of 2.2% in the previous 12 months. The most common subtype of abuse reported was financial (1.3%), followed by psychological (1.2%), physical (0.5%), neglect (0.3%) and sexual (0.05%). It is likely that the figures in institutions are higher, but there are not sufficient data to be sure. 

In community settings, risk factors which have been found to be associated with elder abuse include:

  • Shared living
  • Dementia
  • Alcohol misuse, depression or other mental illness of abuser
  • Social isolation
  • Dependence of caregiver on the abused person
  • Required level of dependence on others

It is also likely that poverty, inappropriate housing, and a culture which does not respect older adults contribute to the phenomenon.
As regards perpetrators, Naughton et al. (2010) found that adult offspring were the most likely to abuse (33%). Followed by neighbours/acquaintances (24%), other relatives (16%) and spouse/partner (13%).

In summary, elder abuse is a serious issue in our society, affecting over 10,000 older people in Ireland in any given year.

Contact & support

For further information & contact details of support services for elders in your area please click here


"Honour" based Violence & Abuse,

Honour-based violence (HBV) involves crimes that are motivated and justified by beliefs about protecting the “honour” of the family or the community.

Engaging in behaviour that is seen as breaking any family or community “rules” or codes of conduct can precede the excessive use of violence, abusive behaviours and even homicide.

HBV is more generally characterised by high levels of social restriction and controlling behaviours. As with other forms of abuse, HBV seriously exploits the human rights of another.

HBV can be confused with domestic abuse. However, the perpetrators of this form of violence can include a number of family members as well as individuals within the larger community. This collusion and collective violence can increase the targeted person’s level of isolation. It may also decrease the likelihood of reporting criminal behaviour.

The behaviours or reactions that can lead to serious victimization and even homicide range considerably. Being caught smoking in public, dressing or acting “inappropriately” and being involved in an inter-faith relationship may result in HBV.

Other commonly reported behaviours that cause HBV include:

  • Perceived or actual infidelity and flirtation
  • Leaving an intimate relationship or marriage
  • Being homosexual
  • Refusing to agree to or avoiding an arranged marriage
  • Pre-marital intimate relationships
  • Having liberal views that defy traditionally reserved or culturally sanctioned principles
  • Educational or career decision making conflicts

Under certain circumstances being sexually assaulted or raped can be seen as “dishonouring” the family and community. Attempting to leave an abusive relationship would also be generally seen as unacceptable. These types of situations ensure repeat victimization and have serious consequences for the mental and physical health of the targeted individual.

Perpetrators of HBV are both male and female. While women are predominately affected by HBV, males are often targeted.

Commonly reported honour-based violence includes:

  • Threatening behaviour and threats to kill
  • Kidnapping (often related to a missing persons report), false imprisonment and hostage-taking
  • Sexual violence and abuse
  • Physical assault
  • Forced marriage
  • Homicide and attempted murder
  • Harassment or repeated attempted provocation
  • Obstructing or conspiring to prevent the course of justice (protection of perpetrator (s))
  • Use of weapons to harm or intimidate

Additional information.

Culture & Abuse

The acceptance and continued use of abusive behaviour can be heavily influenced by cultural traditions. Different sections of society come with a specific set of values, religious beliefs and behavioural as well as cultural expectations.

Strict adherence to certain traditional beliefs can result in excessive violence, murder and mutilation.

Female genital mutilation (FGM)

Female genital mutilation, also known as female genital cutting (FGC) commonly involves clitoridectomy (the surgical removal of the clitoris). However, FGM includes any procedure that mutilates or alters female genitalia for non-medical reasons. These procedures can include the removal of the labia ("lips" surrounding the vagina) as well as the narrowing of the vaginal opening.

Motivations for this procedure vary considerably and are heavily influenced by familial as well as community ideals.

Commonly reported motivations include:

  • Considered cultural tradition that must be followed
  • Religious duty
  • The reduced chances of females having extra-marital affairs
  • Clitoris / labia considered "unclean" or "male" body parts
  • Considered the "proper" way to prepare a female for adulthood and marriage
  • Considered a way of preserving virginity and family honour

Mothers frequently allow their daughters to go through these procedures.

The practice of FGM is illegal in many countries. However, FGM remains prevalent internationally. Many females who have undergone procedures do not come to the attention of health care professionals until the time of childbirth.

FGM has serious psychological as well as medical consequences including:

  • Poor self-image and negative effects on self-identity
  • Difficulty eating, sleeping and concentrating following the procedure
  • Severe pain and excessive bleeding
  • Infections including recurring urinary tract infections
  • Cysts, large amounts of scar tissue, swelling and holes developing in or around vagina or rectum
  • Long-term and recurring pain


Acid attacks

An acid attack is a serious form of violent assault. These attacks primarily involve the throwing or dumping of acid (or any corrosive substance) over the face and body of another.

While commonly thought of as a female-only issue, the victims of acid attacks can be male and female children and adults.
The perpetrators of acid attacks are commonly male or female family members and current/former intimate partners.

The motivations for these attacks vary considerably.

Commonly reported motives include:

  • The rejection of a marriage proposal or sexual advance
  • Revenge over family disputes
  • The breakdown of a marriage or intimate relationship
  • Inadequate dowries
  • Intentional disfigurement
  • Reduced chances of future marriage or intimate relationship

The survival rate of acid attacks is very high. However, this means that survivors have to live with severe pain and disfigurement.

Acid attacks can also cause:

  • Blindness
  • Physical disability
  • Social isolation
  • Poverty
  • Depression and loss of self-esteem
  • Suicide
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fear of another attack (particularly after seeking legal action)
  • Fear of going outside or to public places


Contact & Support

For further information & contact details of support services that deal with HBV, FGM and Acid attacks, please click here


Parents Experiencing Abuse


The abuse of a parent by their own child or children continues to be inadequately addressed. As a taboo issue many parents are isolated and remain silent about their experiences.
Many children and adolescents occasionally call their parents names, can be aggressive or refuse to follow the rules. However, this behaviour is very different to sustained and repeated abuse.
Abuse commonly involves financial, psychological, physical and even sexual assault. Many parents will experience more than one type of abuse.
The abusers can be male or female child, adolescent and adult offspring. In the family unit there can be one or more abusers. Abuse can begin in early adolescence or later in adulthood. Abuse may also be directed at other family members.
Parents in abusive situations often report feeling depressed or suicidal. Some parents report that they are living in fear of their off-spring. Frequently blaming themselves, parents don't always seek outside support.

Types of abusive behaviour commonly reported by parents include:

  • Making unrealistic or unattainable demands
  • Stealing large amounts of money
  • Running away from home
  • Constantly criticizing
  • Threatening to kill or seriously injure
  • Threaten with a weapon
  • Falsely reporting child abuse
  • Repeatedly hitting or punching
  • Destroying personal items or seriously damaging the family home
  • Being locked in a room for extended periods

As with other forms of abuse, parental abuse is not associated solely with any socio-economic class, cultural or educational background.

Increased stress, changes in family dynamics, drug / alcohol abuse and mental health issues are commonly cited causes of parental abuse. However, there is no "typical" reason why offspring are abusive. There are often a number of factors that will contribute to the use of abusive behaviour.

Contact & Support

Contact details of support services for parents can be found here


Males Experiencing Abuse

Wayne McSweeney

Men as victims of domestic violence is not rare. Many people don’t take any notice of it and treat it as a joke.

Men report psychological and physical violence at all levels, from name calling in public places to extreme physical violence that they may need to see a doctor for.

Male victims of domestic violence are;

  • Called names and told that they are useless.
  • Hit in the groin ( private parts)
  • Kicked
  • Blamed for the abuse ( “you make me do this”)
  • Punched
  • Scratched
  • Stabbed
  • Threatened that if they tell anyone that they will never see their children again
  • Their partners often try to control who they see and what they do.
  • They must tell their partner how they spend their money and often their partner will not allow them any control over their money.

Many men who are victims stay silent, and don’t seek help.


These men come from all walks of life, and many are not believed, because of the fact that they are men. These man can be;
  • Builders
  • Drivers
  • Gardeners
  • Lawyers
  • Policemen
  • Unemployed

Often these men are afraid of what friends and family will say and they are afraid of what people will think of them.
Even when a man can prove he has been the victim of violence, he is the one who has to leave the family home. When this happens, many men can be separated from their children and often have trouble gaining access or spending time with them.

Many report that they are treated as the one who is abusing rather than the victim by many of the people that they contact.

Men report becoming depressed and have low self-esteem .Many say that they have thought of suicide.

Men can be victims of domestic violence.

  • Male victims of Domestic violence don’t bring the abuse on themselves.
  • That there is no excuse for the psychological and physical violence that men experience at the hands of their partner.

There are many reasons why men do not report their victimization and why they stay in an abusive situation, and some of the myths commonly held about men's place in the family, guides how society views these men.

Dispelling the myth’s;

Lack of Resources for Abused Men

Many men report one of the major issues that prevent them from reporting abuse is a shortage of resources, which may be real or imagined. Many domestic violence services are aimed at helping female victims. While society is aware of the wider term domestic violence shelter, many shelters are still known as battered women shelters. By law, many of these community resources are theoretically there to help all victims of domestic violence, but many men have reported that they experience resistance when they do try to access services. Even if these support services do provide to men, abused men may feel as though they are not welcome there because of the female population.

Why Men Don’t Report Physical Abuse

Men often suffer physical abuse in silence because they are afraid that no one will believe them or take them seriously. In fact, some men who do try to get help find that they are report that they feel like that are being mocked and ridiculed. They report that on one would think of telling a battered woman, that it wasn’t serious enough to report to the appropriate services but people often don’t think twice about saying that to a battered man. Many men are too embarrassed to admit that they are being abused. Traditional gender roles compound the matter. A real man is expected to be able to control his wife. Aside from the embarrassment over admitting abuse, abused men may feel that they are somehow less of a man for allowing themselves to be abused. But just like abused women are told when they suffer physical violence, abuse is never the victim's fault. This is no less true just because the victim happens to be male.

Don’t suffer this abuse alone….. You can get help!

Contact & Support

Contact details of support services for men experiencing domestic abuse can be found here

Additional Information


In 1977 Suzanne Steinmetz published a controversial research study entitled The Battered Husband Syndrome .The research findings reported on the results of survey that investigated men and women’s use of violence in self-reported partner assaults. It stated that while most attention is given to women who are abused by men, men are often overlooked victims of domestic violence. Steinmetz used historical data and comic strips to reflect popular values, and the results derived from several empirical studies to highlight the problem of husband abuse. Although the research of Steinmetz study was instantly criticized, findings from numerous studies since have supported Steinmetz’s early report, that men can be victims of domestic violence. Women who abuse men are not much different than their male counterparts who abuse women. Men can be hit, kicked, punched, pushed, or bitten by women abusers. Women can also use weapons, such as knives, guns, or any blunt object that can be used to strike. Abused men are not necessarily smaller or physically weaker than the women who abuse them, but they do not use their size or strength to hurt their abusive partners even when they are being hurt.


This phenomenon of men as victims of domestic violence is not uncommon, although many tend to ignore it, dismiss it, or treat it with selective attention. Men report psychological and physical violence at all levels, from name calling in public places to extreme physical violence that requires medical attention. Most men react by staying silent. Often this silence is encouraged by factors such as fear of ridicule from friends and family and those that do report it may suffer society's stigma for not protecting themselves. These men come from all walks of life, social backgrounds and cultures and report they are disbelieved, because of the fact that they are men. Even when a man has proved he has been the victim of violence, it appears that his only option is to leave the family home. When this happens many men can be separated from their children and often experiences difficulty in obtaining regular contact with them. Many report that they are treated as the perpetrator rather than the victim by many of the services that they contact. Men report becoming depressed and this can further compound any issues around mental health that many experience; with anxiety, post-traumatic-stress-disorder, low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts often present in those who present to their doctors. Many men suffer this abuse alone.