Written by Mark Brooks

Chair of Mankind Initiative at ManKind

Mark is Chair of the Mankind Initiative, a national charity established by both men and women in 2001 and became the first British charity to support male victims of domestic abuse.

We have been at the forefront of providing services, support and campaigning for male victims ensuring that they (and their children) receive the support and recognition they need. We have seven trustees (three men and four women) who play an active role within the charity whilst we have six ambassadors all of whom are domestic abuse survivors. The charity’s two Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVAs) run the charity’ services and the Chairand Services Manager are also qualified Domestic Abuse Services Managers.

Our Vision, Mission and Approach

Our vision and aim is to ensure:

  • All male victims of domestic abuse (and their children) are supported to enable them to escape from the situation they are in. This includes ensuring there is a support service for men in every town, city and county.
  • Recognition and support for male victims is fully integrated and mainstreamed in society’s view of domestic abuse and in the statutory and non- statutory delivery of domestic abuse services (gender inclusive).

We view parental alienation and the wilful and continual breach of child arrangement orders as forms of domestic abuse. This is because they are used to psychologically, emotionally and financially control an ex-partner by using the children from the relationship. This is an increasingly common issue based on the calls to our helpline.

Whilst it is not legally seen as domestic abuse by the Government and courts, we firmly believe it should be and are campaigning to make it so.

We take a gender inclusive approach

We also believe that the use of threats and/or false accusations is a form of domestic abuse and should be far more formally recognised. We are concerned about the unintended consequences of changes to legal aid funding for family law matters which is fuelling false allegations of domestic abuse.

The charity does not believe that domestic abuse should be defined as a gendered crime or should be viewed as being gendered in nature – it should be defined as a crime as it is both legally, and, in terms of equality and human rights. This is on the basis that the charity recognises that men and women can be both perpetrators and victims in heterosexual and same-sex relationships. The view that domestic abuse is a gendered crime is old-fashioned and non-inclusive – it does not reflect the diversity of domestic abuse victims in the UK today.

We believe in a gender-inclusive and gender-informed approach to responses, services and support to victims that are able to reflect the gender differences in the experiences and barriers that some victims face (the majority of experiences and barriers are the same for victims from all genders).

Ultimately, victims of domestic abuse should receive, as the primary consideration, support and recognition based on their individual risk and need. Factors such as gender, race and sexuality are all important but not as important as their primary consideration as an individual.

What we do

We provide a range of services directly to men including an anonymous national helpline that any man anywhere can call us (01823 334244) and a drop in service from our Taunton base which we are looking to expand. On average, we receive 1,800 calls per year. We also receive about 20% of calls from people contacting us on behalf of a male.

We rely solely on donations, fundraising and sponsorships our helpline – we receive no public money or grants.

We help other organisations to support men by offering a seven point CPD accredited one day training course, a national conference every November, a national directory of services for male victims (called the ‘Oak Book’), information on safe house/refuge provision and deliver presentations at conferences/meetings around the UK. We can also offer advice on how to run communication campaigns to encourage more men to come forward.

We are delivering a two year support service to the welfare staff in the Armed Forces to help them better support male victims.

We can also provide a range of national and local statistics on the numbers of male victims in every area of the country and also UK-wide statistics. For the latest statistics, please visit: http://www.mankind.org.uk/statistics/.

We also give male victims a public voice by campaigning for them by taking part in policy consultations, and sitting on statutory/sector led committees and bodies. This includes our award winning #violenceisviolence campaign video and regularly featuring in the media. Our Trustee Dr Elizabeth Bates also produced a ground-breaking video – 20 Voices.

Alongside sexual violence/abuse charity, Survivors Manchester, the charity worked in partnership with the Crown Prosecution Service on the world’s first ever bespoke statement on supporting male victims of these crimes by a prosecuting authority.

Further information

For further information, please contact admin@mankind.org.uk or visit www.mankind.org.uk. Our Twitter feed is @mankindinit.

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