Research shines light on barriers men face as victims of domestic violence

A Teesside University academic is using her research to shine the spotlight on the sensitive subject of male victims of domestic violence.

Dr Jessica McCarrick, a Senior Lecturer in Counselling Psychology, thinks more should be done to support male victims as many don’t report the violence they suffer for fear of themselves being the subject of false accusations.

Dr McCarrick’s research focusses on in-depth interviews with male victims of domestic violence and explores why men are more than twice as likely as women not to report the abuse they suffer. It found that when men do report the abuse, their negative experiences are perpetuated within the criminal justice system by being treated like the guilty party or feeling dismissed by the police.

As part of her research, Dr McCarrick has been invited to deliver a talk to social workers at Middlesbrough Council to help them understand more about the issues men face.  She was also asked to present her work at the British Psychology Society Conference in Brighton.

She said: “The barriers that male victims of domestic violence face is an important and sensitive subject. I’m pleased to be able to talk about my research at these events and help to address some of the issues.

“Men find it incredibly difficult to talk about their experiences of domestic violence because of the shame and emasculation they feel is associated with it. To find the courage to speak out, only to be accused of violence themselves, is incredibly disheartening and ultimately prevents countless men from reporting intimate partner violence.

“Promoting awareness of the plight of male survivors may encourage men to report abuse and feel assured that they will be taken seriously.”