Men experiencing domestic abuse

It's not just women who become victims of domestic abuse. Men 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 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 abuse can lead to feelings of 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.

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.

Speak to a Shelter Scotland adviser

Call Shelter Scotland's free housing advice helpline

0808 800 4444
9am-5pm, Monday to Friday

Email an adviser

You can also email a housing adviser. We aim to respond within three working days.

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