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Media Feature: Male Victims of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence against men is not often mentioned in the media, or generally talked about, but there are many male victims and they need to be heard, taken seriously and to be believed, and not be ridiculed or told to "man up". The government also needs to fund counselling, services and shelters for male victims of domestic violence, just as they do for women.

Source: Flickr Kate Hiscock

Source: Flickr Kate Hiscock



We often see and hear of domestic violence against women in the media, but what we don't hear much about is domestic violence against men. Although there is little statistical data recording men as victims, it is something that happens in Australia and the world, and it is not often being talked about, but male victims of domestic violence deserve to be heard and believed. Channel 9's A Current Affair recently addressed male victims of domestic violence.

The Australian Domestic & Family Violence Clearinghouse has written a topic paper called Men as Victims of Domestic Violence. Mentioned in this topic paper is Amanda Barclay, who recently conducted a study in Victoria where 14 workers from a range of victim services in Melbourne were interviewed about their views of the experiences and needs of male victims of domestic violence by their female partners. Barclay's case studies revealed that men do not only experience physical violence, but also other forms of abuse such as:

  • financial dependence on a partner
  • limiting access to resources
  • tactics of isolation
  • preventing access to children; and
  • being exposed to irrational and threatening behaviour when their partner was not compliant with medication

Men And Help-Seeking

Because men are traditionally thought to be physically stronger than women, male victims of domestic violence often feel embarrassed and frightened of not being taken seriously, being ridiculed about it, or that the problem will be minimised or dismissed if they report incidents to authorities. Men are therefore less likely to report incidents of domestic violence. Domestic violence is not only physical it is also verbal and psychological.

Male Victims of Domestic Violence Need Services Too

The Australian Government, politicians and community leaders must recognise that services are needed not only for women, but also for men. There is a shortage of resources for male victims of domestic violence that needs to be addressed. Just as there are government funded services to support women, the government also needs to fund shelters, counselling, services and legal aid to support men.


In Channel 9's A Current Affair, aired on August 6, 2015 men stepped forward to talk about being the victims of domestic violence. Simon Lanham is one of the abused men who talked about being stabbed five times with a kitchen knife, and after life-saving surgery now has a long scar through the centre of his abdomen. Another time he was punched in the head about 50 times, spat in the face about a dozen times, grabbed in the testicles and grabbed to the ground half a dozen times and kicked, eventually she cornered him and got his face before he hit her.

Another man, Phil Hunt had pots and glasses thrown at him by his enraged wife, and remembers that one night she threw a ceramic vase at him. It shattered on the wall, and he was lucky not to be hit. When reporting her to the police, the officer told him to "man-up" and dismissed him.

If you or anyone you know is the victim of domestic violence contact Lifeline for help: 13 11 14

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