Men’s domestic violence

A young person is sitting on a bench wearing a red coat, talking to another young person about men's domestic violence

Although discussions of domestic violence often focus on women, men’s domestic violence is sadly also increasingly common. If you’re a man, and you’re being abused in your relationship, don’t be afraid to seek help. Here’s some advice for what to do and how to get out.

Domestic violence is usually thought of as a women’s issue. But abuse in relationships can happen to men – by women or other men – too.

What is mens’ domestic violence?

Abuse can happen in many different ways, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, playing psychological games or financial abuse. Domestic violence is about bullying and control and is rarely a one-off incident.

Jason, 24, was with his wife for six years and experienced abuse. “She used to scream at me all the time and lash out during arguments. I had to tell colleagues that the cat was always scratching me,” he says. “Really it was my wife, but I couldn’t tell them that. How could I tell my mates? How could I just drop that into the conversation?”.

I’m a man and I’m being abused. What do I do?

Being physically, mentally or sexually assaulted by somebody you know is just as much a crime as being assaulted by a stranger. Admitting you have a problem and talking to somebody about it is an important first step.

Men’s Advice Line offers the following advice, and you can always call their national domestic violence hotline to talk to someone:

  • Recognise that you are in an abusive relationship.
  • Keep a record of any incidents.
  • Report any incident to the police.
  • Seek medical attention – either from Accident & Emergency or your GP.
  • Take legal advice.
  • Don’t be provoked into retaliating.

If you find yourself being physically attacked, it’s important not to retaliate. Restraining somebody or hitting back leaves you liable for prosecution. If you find that you’re getting into a heated argument, leave the room.

I want to leave, but where do I go?

Leaving your home doesn’t affect your right to return, your tenants’ rights or ownership of the home. Whether you rent or own your home, you have the same rights.

There are a handful of projects around the country that offer accommodation to male victims of domestic abuse. Men’s Advice Line will be able to tell you if there are any in your area. Privately rented accommodation is an option, but could be expensive if you’re doing it alone. Staying with your mates or family will probably be your first choice, but this may not work out over a long period of time.

If you are homeless as a result of domestic violence, your local council housing can arrange emergency accommodation. They may ask you to provide evidence that you are being abused, which is when keeping a record of everything can be useful.

Emergency Accommodation is usually in a B&B and will be for a limited period only. To apply for this you need to approach your local council housing department. Your local housing department will provide you with a list of B&Bs in the area and single male hostels.

How to get out of domestic violence and abuse

Getting out of a situation in which you’re experiencing domestic violence and other abusive behaviour can be very difficult for all kinds of reasons. The important thing to remember is you can get out of your situation, but it might help you to land on your feet if you do some planning beforehand. Here’s Tara’s story about escaping an abusive relationship and some tips for how to cope if you need to leave home for your own safety.

Can I get an injunction against my abusive partner?

If you’re a victim of domestic violence, you may decide that it’s safe to return to your home if you get an injunction. There are two types:

  • Non-molestation Order: This is aimed at preventing your partner or ex-partner from using threatening violence against you or your children.
  • Occupation Order: An occupation order regulates who can live in the family home and can also restrict your abuser from entering the surrounding area.

If you have been involved in criminal proceedings against your abuser, you may be able to get a restraining order. These can be either temporary or permanent.

I’m embarrassed to ask for help

Asking for help doesn’t make you weak. Telling somebody that your partner is abusing you is difficult; you might feel ashamed, embarrassed or worry that you won’t be taken seriously. But for all victims of domestic violence the advice is the same – you are not alone and there is help available. Remember, you can speak to our team anonymously any time.

Jason adds: “I was really embarrassed but asking for help was the turning point. I realised that it does happen to other people. I left her and started rebuilding my life. It was hard to trust people at first, especially women, but now I’m in a loving relationship. I’ll always be grateful to the people that helped me get out of my situation.”

Along with Men’s Advice Line, the Mankind Initiative is another organisation that provides a national domestic abuse helpline for men. If you’re looking for a support group, check out this article from Men’s Group. 

Use our relationship tool to understand your relationship dynamic, and what you can do if it’s not as healthy as it should be.

Next Steps

By Liz Scarff

Updated on 27-Apr-2023