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Male domestic abuse on the rise in Havering

PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 May 2016

More support has been called for to encourage male domestic violence victims to come forward. Photo:ThinkstockPhotos/Carlos Gomez Bové

More support has been called for to encourage male domestic violence victims to come forward. Photo:ThinkstockPhotos/Carlos Gomez Bové

Archant

A "proactive" stance in encouraging male domestic abuse victims to come forward is not being taken by Havering Council, according to the chairman of a charity.

In the 12 months leading up to February 2016, there were more than 2,000 cases of domestic abuse in Havering – a 21per cent increase on the previous year.

Of these cases, there were 476 male victims.

Mark Brooks, chairman of Mankind Initiative, a charity which provides support to victims, believes appropriate action is not being taken to support those in need.

He said: “I think there needs to be far more done by the Metropolitan Police, Havering Council and the council health services in encouraging men to come forward and to ensure there are services available.

“I am aware councils are not being proactive enough to help men come forward when they have suffered abuse.

“Councils need to do far more to encourage men to come forward to get help from them or the police and ensure they are funding local services to provide that support.

“Everything they do with regard to domestic abuse has to be male-victim friendly.”

Havering Council has found men prefer not to use face to face counselling. Pippa Brent-Isherwood, head of policy and performance, said Mendas, an anonymous helpline which receives funding from the local authority, has proven to be “far more effective”.

Ms Brent-Isherwood, head of policy and performance, said: “Domestic violence is often portrayed as a problem for women, but significant numbers of men are also affected, and we take it extremely seriously.”

Havering Women’s Aid, Hornchurch, set up Mendas, which stands for Men’s Domestic Abuse Services, last year, offering advice and support for men.

In its first three weeks, it received calls from almost as many men as the number that had called the helpline aimed at women in the entirety of 2014.

The helpline has since received about 20 calls per month.

Vicki Nicholson, CEO of the charity, said: “We have been very successful in our first year and have highlighted our new service to professionals and clients.

“We feel that there have always been male victims of domestic abuse, but having Mendas in place provides an opportunity for men to speak in confidence.”

Mark said: “The helpline staff – who are trained – are always shocked by the level of psychological and physical abuse the victim will endure.

“Our staff are people who want to help anybody that feels they are in danger.”

Call Mendas on 01708 397974

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