As someone who has witnessed and suffered domestic violence ,  I have spent the last 12 years trying to highlight the failings of statutory agencies and lack of support.
To suffer domestic violence is one of the most heart wrenching experiences I’ve had. From people who on one hand, say they love you, to then rip your face apart and apologise after. My most serious injury was a broken metatarsal in my foot.
Initially the police would remove me from the family home, regardless of being blood covered and injured. The officers advised they had no choice but to do so. These days, after doing presentations to Police Officers on my experiences, most approach a domestic incident with an open mind, although conducting dual risk assessments should be the way forward.
With no refuge facility, we as men have two choices:

1 we stay and suffer

or

2 we leave and leave kids behind.

We can’t take our kids to a homeless hostel. These hostels aren’t the place for an emotionally suffering man and his kids. Refuge with emotional support is needed to provide a service to the 3,107 male victims who suffered a domestic abuse crime in 2014/2015.
Since 2004 we have seen a huge 41% increase in male victims reporting,  yet we have seen no change in services being offered to support.
Domestic Abuse has a huge impact in Family Law outcomes, mental health, suicide and employment yet our Government fails to view male victims in the same light as female victims.
Domestic Abuse is wrong and we need a multi agency gender neutral approach to eradicate this curse within society.
Men’s Aid NI will continue to challenge the inequalities men and their children face in this area. We ask for a refuge in Belfast to provide a much needed safe haven for these males.
We respect the services employed for female victims and don’t want to see a reduction in their services.

Instead we ask for a level playing field, equality and regardless of gender.

By Peter Morris

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