2 July 2014

First ever service for men experiencing domestic violence or abuse

Brighton & Hove’s first ever care pathway for men experiencing domestic violence or abuse has been unveiled.

Until now heterosexual men had to access national helplines but the new pathway means they can get help and support directly via Victim Support, an independent charity for victims and witnesses of crime. RISE, Brighton & Hove’s local domestic abuse charity will continue to offer help & support for gay, bisexual and trans men. Free specialist advice and information, available to women and men, is also available every Wednesday between 9am and 12noon at a Domestic Abuse Surgery at Hove Town Hall.

This pathway is a new way of working, and is being delivered by RISE and Victim Support, which are working together with support from Sussex Police and Brighton & Hove City Council.

This follows the city’s Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) approach victims of violence including men and identify the most effective ways to provide help and support.

Around one in five reports locally are from men who have experienced domestic violence or abuse, according to the city’s 2013 Strategic Assessment.

Brighton & Hove City Council Leader Jason Kitcat said:

"Domestic abuse destroys lives and that's why we're determined to prevent it.  This new care pathway should make it easier for men experiencing domestic violence to seek help.

"Working with key partners we’re improving the help on offer and this latest initiative builds on the walk in Domestic Abuse Surgery we launched earlier this year to provide easy access every Wednesday morning at Hove Town Hall to residents who need some expert advice and support."

“Working closely with city partners we run a whole range of services and initiatives to not only make sure residents know what domestic abuse is but where they can get help to stop it.

"This ranges from educating school children about healthy relationships, providing direct advice and help to those affected or offering a refuge to those directly under threat.”

Brighton & Hove City Council Violence against Women and Girls Strategy Commissioner James Rowlands said:

“Domestic violence or abuse has a devastating impact on people’s lives. Men can be reluctant to seek help so we think this new care pathway, and having help and support which is available locally, is a major step forward.

“This means support is easily within reach and in many different forms such as over the phone or face to face at drop in centres in the city at Hove Town Hall or at the police station or hospital. Everyone, including men, should know that violence and abuse are not acceptable and help and support is available.”

RISE Head of Client Services, Kate Dale said: “Domestic violence and abuse can affect absolutely anyone regardless of gender or sexual orientation. RISE  is delighted to be a key partner in this new care pathway for male victims.

“Our staff can provide immediate advice  via our Helpline, our hospital-based service, at the police station or at the weekly Domestic Abuse Surgery at Hove Town Hall.  This new service means we can now refer male survivors to Victim Support (for heterosexual men), or to our own specialist LGBT Service, run in partnership with the LGBT Switchboard.”

Victim Support service delivery manager for Brighton & Hove Charlie Gibbs said:

“Although statistically a higher proportion of victims of domestic abuse are female, there is now a clear pathway within Brighton & Hove whereby men experiencing domestic abuse, can access local support services.

“It is essential to recognise that domestic abuse can affect anyone at any time, irrespective of gender, gender identity or sexual orientation. Victim Support can provide this help and those who need support can contact us directly on 0845 38 99 528 (Monday - Friday, 8am-8pm, Saturday 9am-5pm).

“This is a joint approach between Brighton & Hove City Council, RISE, Victim Support and Sussex Police to ensure that all victims, male or female, can access support that is so often needed.”

CASE STUDIES

Comments from clients of the Domestic Abuse Surgery at Hove Town Hall.

John: “I didn't think anyone would listen to me, or believe that I could be so scared of my younger brother.”

Mathew: “I am still suffering from an abusive relationship which ended months ago. I came to the drop in surgery with little hope and left feeling stronger and with a clear idea about where to go for ongoing support.”

John and Mathew are not their real names.

RISE Hove Town Hall domestic abuse surgery worker Rosie adds:

“When we think about domestic abuse, we might think about a male being violent towards his female partner. In Brighton and Hove we know that domestic abuse affects men too, the offender may be a partner or a relative and the abuse may not always be physical. “

Ends

Safe in the City web page on domestic abuse http://www.safeinthecity.info/getting-help

To access Domestic Abuse Surgery visit Hove Town Hall and ask for 'The Surgery' at reception. Hove Town Hall. Norton Road. Hove. Postcode: BN3 4AH

This latest initiative supports the ongoing Sussex Police 'talk to us' campaign focusing on domestic abuse. For details and support visit www.sussex.police.uk  or call 101 or 01273 470101

If you don't want to talk to the police, call the RISE helpline on 01273 622822 - see also www.riseuk.org.uk

The 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline is also available on 0808 2000 247 - www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk