While the statistics overwhelmingly show that women are usually the victims of domestic violence, male victims of violence are also speaking up to share their experiences.
A battered boyfriend made to suffer at the hands of his “controlling” girlfriend has spoken for the first time about the torment he suffered as she was jailed for seven and a half years.
She stabbed him with a knife, scalded him with boiling water, banned him from their bed and decided what clothes he should wear. She also isolated him from his friends and took over his Facebook account.
Prosecutor Maryam Syed said a relationship began and later they moved in together but from an early stage she was exercising control over him deciding what he could wear.
But the prosecutor said worse was to come as she became violent towards the man, who the court heard suffered from hydrocephalus which is caused by a buildup of fluid inside the skull which made him vulnerable.
She used blunt objects to strike him, wounded him with a knife and didn’t help him get to hospital for treatment.
She pleaded guilty to controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate relationship, wounding with intent and causing grievous bodily harm with intent between April 2016 to June last year.
He attends a group for domestic violence victims and would like to help others. He said he had been told by the police that there had been a spike in the number of male victims in recent years.
Are Males More Likely to Be Victims of Domestic Violence or Perpetrators?
Despite stories like this, the facts remain that men are far more likely to be perpetrators rather than victims of domestic violence.
Crime statistics released by Victoria Police for 2013/14 show that overall, the victims of violent crimes are split fairly evenly – 52% men, 48% women. When you drill down a little, 94% of rape victims and 84% of other sexual crime victims are women, 51% of assault victims are women and 36% of homicide victims are women. So it seems true that, with the notable exception of sexual assault, men are also the victims of violent crimes and significantly more often the victims of murder.
But that’s just the victims; what about the offenders?
According to Victoria Police crime statistics on offenders processed for the 2013/14 reporting year:
- 87% of homicides were committed by men.
- 98% of sexual assaults were committed by men.
- 83% of non-sexual assaults were committed by men.
- 90% of robberies were committed by men.
- 92% of abductions were committed by men.
It’s worth noting that all this data is about adult victims. Being born male is no protection against abuse in childhood. We know that this is the most underreported of all crimes, but where it is discovered, boys are as likely as girls to be the victims. We also know that injuries inflicted in childhood leave the deepest wounds and that these wounds are even deeper when they are sexual. The adult survivors, regardless of gender, always carry scars. Again, however, in these cases it is almost always men who are the offenders.
In 2015, the NSW coroner reviewed all intimate partner homicides over the last decade and found no incidents where a woman killed a man because she was a domestic violence offender.
When women did kill their male partner, or ex-partner, it was defensive – he had a history of perpetrating violence against her. Dr Salter said police and health services reports showed that when a woman was violent against their partner, she was typically either defending herself or her kids.
“There are forms of violence that, simply put, women don’t do to men in relationships,” he said. “That includes strangulation, damage to property, the mutilation and killing of pets, and sexual violence in a domestically abusive relationship.”
Two of the 227 recommendations of the Victorian Royal Commission related to male victims of domestic violence:
- Government to promote the Victims Support Agency as the main source of assistance for male victims. Agency to provide online resources.
- Victims Support Agency and other relevant support services should develop arrangements to ensure male victims get help.
It acknowledged men are victims too:
“The Commission concluded that, although resources should not be diverted from women and children, who constitute the majority of victims, the family violence system needs to respond more supportively to male victims of family violence.”
If you are experiencing family violence, contact our friendly and compassionate family law team for legal advice. We offer a free, 10-minute phone consultation.