Thursday, September 11, 2008

Domestic Violence Victims Services and the Male Heterosexual Victim

Having been an advocate for victims of domestic abuse for over a decade I have done my homework with regard to what services are available for men abused by women. The question, "What services do battered women's shelter programs offer male victims?" has come up more times then I can count over the years. I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the issue having called, emailed and faxed a great number of these shelter programs across the country on behalf of our clients in the last eight years. Here is what I have discovered. When I contact an agency my call goes something like this, "Hello, my name is Jan and I am with the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women. I have just had caller on our helpline that lives in your county and I have screened him (more about that later) and found that he is a victim of domestic abuse." Then I might give a few details about his situation such as the types of violence he has suffered at the hands of his intimate partner (never revealing his name, address or phone number) and then ask the hotline advocate, "What services does your agency offer abused men?" or "Can I refer him to your agency?" The responses generally go like this, "We don't help men....hold on let me ask are referred out (usually to a batterer's intervention program)....we offer the same services to all victims but we only shelter women and children...except for adolescents boys we don't shelter them...and we do not have support groups for male victims but if more men called we would consider starting one. Domestic violence shelter programs were never meant to house or serve men. The founding mothers of domestic violence services were advocates for battered women not advocates for battered person's. That being the case it's really no surprise that many of these programs have nothing to offer male victims. To Be Continued....

1 comment:

  1. I have been researching domestic violence for a college paper. I have been trying to find resources that are available for male victims, and have not had much luck. The focus seems to be on the female victims, and the male victims seem to have been overlooked. This is a big issue. Men are just as human as women and need resources available to them also. I am a female and have been the "victim" of domestic violence but have also known men who have been victims who ran into dead ends when searching for help.