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Police launch video to highlight male victims of domestic abuse

Last modified: 14 December 2020 at 12:31pm

North Yorkshire Police's Safeguarding Team have today launched a video to raise awareness of the fact that men can be victims of domestic abuse.

Made in partnership with specialist male domestic abuse charity the ManKind Initiative, the video features an interview with Paul Chivers, a survivor of domestic abuse and now a trustee for the ManKind charity.

Sharing his story in the hope that it strikes a chord with other male victims and encourages them to take action and seek help, Paul bravely recounts his personal experience of 10-years of abuse at the hands of his ex-wife. He talks about the warning signs he saw early on in their relationship, why he stayed in the relationship and the violent incident which proved to be the turning point for him, where his ex-wife attacked him one night in front of their young daughter, leaving him with severe head injuries.

The video, hosted by North Yorkshire Police Deputy Lead for Safeguarding Chief Inspector Al Wescott, also features an interview with Marilyn Selwood from the ManKind Initiative, who works directly with male victims of domestic abuse. Marilyn discusses the unique set of barriers that face men who live in this situation and how very often men are the hidden victims of domestic abuse.

Speaking about the motivation to make the film, Chief Inspector Wescott said;

“It may surprise people to know that 1 in 6 men in the UK will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime. Current government statistics state that there are approximately 32 million men living in the UK, so that’s a lot of people who are silently living with violence and abuse, who are not coming forward and reporting it or even speaking about it.

“The police do receive reports of domestic abuse from men, but nowhere near the numbers we know must be experiencing it. So we need to do something proactive and reach out to men to start breaking down the barriers that prevent them from coming forward and either speaking to police or engaging with support agencies. We hope the video takes a step in this direction and encourages men to come forward and make a report to police.

“We’re very fortunate to have Paul Chivers take part in the video and share his story with us. I hope that by listening to Paul, men who are currently living in a similar situation will hear his words and his experience and be reassured that they are not alone.

“We were also really pleased to have Marilyn Selwood’s input and her first-hand insight into supporting male victims. She talks from experience about what prevents men from making a report, thinking they will not be believed or being perceived as weak and how as a society we’re just not switched on the signs that men may be suffering in this type of situation.

“As the police we are here to protect and safeguard everyone and we will not tolerate violence and abuse. So, if you are a man are living with an abusive partner or family member and you are in fear for your safety, or the safety of your children or wider family, please know you can report it to police. We will listen to you and take the necessary safeguarding steps needed, to keep you and your family safe.

“We can put you in touch with specialist agencies who can provide the advice and guidance you need to allow you to move on with your life – as Paul has. You can make a report to police by calling 101. If you are in danger or at immediate risk of harm always dial 999 and we will respond to you.”

Speaking about the video, Marilyn Selwood from the ManKind Initiative said:

“We really welcomed the opportunity to work alongside North Yorkshire Police with this video, to raise awareness of the fact that men can be victims of abuse and violence too.

“Very often men in this situation can feel invisible and be unsure about what to do or where to go, or even if they will be believed. So anything we can do to raise awareness and let male victims know that the police and agencies like the ManKind Initiative do understand their situation and can help them is really important.

“Because people think that a domestic abuse incident is mainly a situation involving a male perpetrator and female victim, someone may not make that connection that a male friend or family member is living in an abusive or violent home. So I’d ask everyone to be vigilant of the signs of abuse. If your brother, father, uncle, cousin or male friend is becoming increasing isolated and withdrawn or your relationship with them has broken down due to their partner, if their phone is checked or their access to money is controlled or if they are showing physical signs of violence, please reach out to them and see if they are ok and encourage them to engage with the police or a specialist charity like the ManKind Initiative.

“If you are a man who is experiencing domestic abuse you can contact the ManKind Initiative confidentially on 01823 334244 or visit www.makind.org.uk for more information. We will listen to you, believe you and help you to make sense of the situation and support you and your family to move forward with your lives.”

To watch the video click on the window below.

+Please note, Paul talks in detail about the attack he experienced and the injuries inflicted upon him. Some viewers may find the content distressing+

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