One in five Havering domestic abuse victims are men - and there are no refuge places for them
�One in five domestic abuse victims in Havering are men, according to a new council report – but there no refuge places are provided for them.
The figure prompted discussion at a meeting of Havering Council’s crime and disorder committee on Tuesday.
Havering and Redbridge London assembly member Roger Evans said the support offered is “skewed”.
He said: “The report says that Havering Women’s Aid helped 1,192 woman and 20 men in a year. That’s not one in five.
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“It suggests to me that there’s a skewing in support. Maybe we could involve charities to contribute to the work the community does.”
Councillor Becky Bennett suggested changing the name of Havering Women’s Aid to make it more accessible to men.
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The organisation runs a council-funded refuge, drop-in services, meetings, support, counselling and a helpline but the refuge is for women and children only.
Community safety officer Diane Egan said: “I think the idea is that men are more likely to have access to income and be able to leave.
“Also, historically, most shelters were set up by the women’s movement. Maybe there needs to be a men’s movement.”
A charity for male domestic violence victims, ManKind, campaigns to improve the services available to men and runs a helpline.
Chairman Mark Brooks said: “Authorities need to do a lot more to encourage male victims to come forward to receive support.
“A lot of services are geared towards women, and there are more female victims, but if a man gets less support it’s a real problem.”
Mr Brooks, 42, added that the number of male victims could be much higher than shown in statistics because men often don’t report abuse to the police through fear of not being believed.
Domestic violence is defined as any threatening behaviour, violence or abuse of any kind between partners or family members.
There were 2,817 domestic violence incidents in Havering in 2010 and 5,466 women are estimated to be victims each year.
The borough has the eigth-lowest number of domestic violence incidents in London and a higher-than-average arrest rate for suspects.