This is a broadcast of a Panel Session called Meeting the needs of male victims of domestic and family violence, presented at the Australian Institute of Criminology's Meeting the needs of victims of crime conference held in Sydney on 19 May 2011.
Part 2 of the Panel Session features Toni McLean, counsellor with the Think Twice! Program, presenting a paper called Are men really victims of intimate partner violence?
Unlike most other victims of crime, male victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) are yet to be truly recognised by the judicial system or the larger community. There are a number of beliefs about male victims of IPV, such as that men are rarely genuine victims; if they are, they must have done something to deserve it; or they aren’t affected as much as women are by partner violence; and it is easier for them to leave their relationships. These are all myths.
This paper will:
• present evidence which shows that victimisation of husbands by wives has been documented for hundreds of years;
• present current statistics on the prevalence and nature of partner violence against men;
• explain how studies have presented contradictory and confusing pictures of partner violence perpetration;
• explore how male victimisation has not been adequately researched, with implications for the judicial system, the media, and government and community campaigns;
• offer some reasons as to why this has been the case.
The acknowledgement of male victims has ramifications for government policy, the judicial system, and the provision of health and community services, as well as benefits for the community. We need a lot more information from and about male victims of partner violence in order to be able to meet their needs. Academics, clinicians and service providers need to be open to the possibility that a man who claims he is a victim of partner violence actually is.