Worrying surge in male domestic violence and coercive control, warns Men's Aid

By Kim oLeary

Thousands of men in Ireland are at risk of male domestic abuse and coercive control by their partners, according to Men's Aid.

Kathrina Bentley,CEO of Men's Aid Ireland, said that while the problem of male domestic violence is growing in Ireland, they are also trying to urge more victims to come forward.

She told Dublin Live: "Last year, in 2020, we got about five and a half thousand contacts. So we kicked in with online counselling which has seen a huge uptick.

"Definitely, this year, we saw that the surge has continued. It is growing in terms of demand. Emotional abuse, manipulation, financial, physical and sexual abuse all happen, too.

"Domestic violence is broad, complex and there are really no winners. At the end of the day, everyone deserves the right to live life in a safe home."

Men's Aid is also urging the Government to increase their funding so that they can help more men and their families.

Ms Bentley added: "Our funding is just one per cent of the national budget, so we do feel we're in the trenches in the war against COVID-19 and the war against domestic violence.

"There is a huge number of people coming forward, but our funding of one per cent is not sufficient with the demand we're experiencing."

Men’s Aid Ireland also welcomed the recent audit “Domestic, Sexual and GenderBased Violence – An Audit of Structures”.

The organisation supported over 5,500 contacts in 2020 and is likely to support circa 8,000 men and dads in 2021.

"The improvements in public awareness, attitudes, policing policy and responses by Dept ofJustice during the current times are welcomed and noted along with legislative changes in the area of Criminal Law, ratification of the Istanbul convention, Domestic Violence law with updated crimes such as Coercive control .

"We look forward to working with our colleagues and incorporating the other significant changes in regard to the vulnerable victim in cases of Gender based violence and the minimum standards that must be provided by all state and NGO services.

"Examples, Victims Charter, Victims of Crime Act 2017, the Irish human rights act2014, the ECHR act of 2003, and associated changes in Irish society around diversity and inclusion. Most importantly a victim and child focus is imperative in order to change and save lives.

Kathrina Bentley added: “Domestic violence is a societal issue that needs focus and funding and it is imperative the victim remains front and centre. Men’s Aid are part of the consultation group for the 3rd National Strategy 2022 – 2027 and we are hopeful the strategy will be inclusive and victim centric."

For help and support call Men's Aid National Confidential Helpline on 01 554 3811 or email hello@mensaid.ie

More information is also available here

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