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Domestic violence and abuse against men

It's not just women who become victims of domestic violence and abuse. Male victims can also experience domestic abuse at the hands of their wives, partners or ex-partners, whether female or male. Whilst specific support services are not as widely available, the statutory and legal remedies open to women wishing to escape an abusive relationship apply equally to men.

What is male domestic abuse?

Men experience many of the same symptoms and effects of domestic abuse as women, including:

  • physical violence - being punched, kicked, slapped, scalded or stabbed
  • mental abuse - humiliation in public, isolation from friends and family and enforced financial dependence
  • sexual assault.

This domestic violence and abuse can lead to male victims feeling shame, guilt, isolation and worthlessness. Due to social prejudices, men can find it even harder than women to let other people know that they are being abused and to seek help. You may be afraid that you won't be taken seriously, or that you'll be criticised or even ridiculed for 'letting' your partner abuse you. Many abused men are reluctant to leave the family home in case they are later denied contact with their children.

What can I do if I'm being abused?

Men have the same rights as women to live in safety, and the remedies listed in this section are available to both men and women experiencing domestic abuse. Support services specifically for men are not widely available in Scotland, but any domestic abuse agency should take you seriously and offer you advice, help or support.

  • Call the Men's Advice Line on 0808 801 0327.
  • Call Abused Men in Scotland on 0808 800 0024. 
  • You have the right to report your partner to the police if they assault you. The police can arrest and charge your partner if necessary, and they may have to face a criminal trial.
  • You can apply for an interdict or non-harassment order to keep your partner away from you.
  • Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to apply for an exclusion order to suspend their rights to live in the family home
  • If you have been injured by your partner, you may be able to claim compensation.
  • If your partner is refusing to grant you access to your children, you may be able to apply to the court for a contact order. Speak to your solicitor if you are in this situation.

What if I end up homeless?

At present there are no refuges for abused men in Scotland, but if you find yourself with nowhere to stay, you should still contact your local council, Shelter advice centre or Citizens Advice or call Shelter's free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444 to see what is available in your area. Use the Advice Services Directory

You can also make a homeless application to your local council or a council in another area. Councils take domestic abuse situations very seriously, and your homelessness officer should never try to push you to return home if you are in danger there.

Where can I get help and advice?

The page on getting help lists agencies that offer practical help and emotional support to men experiencing abuse.

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