Male domestic violence - a hidden crime?

Kerry Stott  II 14 DEC  2016

In 2014/12 2.8% of men had experienced partner abuse, this figure equates to a staggering 500,000 men. Of the numbers of people abuse one third are men with one in six men suffering abuse in their lifetime. Younger men are more likely to be abused (6.6% of men aged 16-19) than older men.

Men don't leave abusive relationships for various reasons – the top seven reasons being: 'concern about the children' (89%), 'marriage for life' (81%), 'love' (71%), 'the fear of never seeing their children again' (68%), 'thinks she'll change' (56%), 'not enough money' (53%), 'nowhere to go' (52%), 'embarrassed' (52%), 'Doesn’t want to take kids away from her' (46%), 'She threatened to kill herself' (28%) and 'fears she’ll kill him' (24%). Male victims are twice as likely to not tell anyone about their experiences than women.

There are many reasons for not reporting, one such is 'toxic masculinity. ' This term defers to ‘socially constructed’ attitudes that are harmful to the ‘male or masculine gender roles’ as violent, unemotional, sexually aggressive, workaholic etc.  Whilst abuse against women still remains higher than domestic violence and partner abuse against men, the facts are very clear that men, and society, can and do struggle to find and create a space in which to talk frankly about this issue.

The Masculinity Audit 2016 suggests that as well as society's belief that men are doing ok, that they actually lack the language to be able to communicate their distress. On the other hand you only need to go onto YouTube to find videos where women hit men and onlookers do nothing, but if roles were reversed it has a different impact.

There is still much work needed to be done in this area, with people often disbelieving victims or minimising in impact abuse has upon their lives. A simple thing such as listening without prejudice and hearing the stories of these men could be the difference between someone living in fear and someone being free from violence and aggression.

Where to go for help if you are in this position:

Any opinions above are the author's alone and may not represent those of the NHS or Mind and Medicine. Any comment is based on the best available evidence at the time of writing.  All data is based on externally validated studies unless expressed otherwise. Novel data is representative of sample surveyed. Online recommendation is no substitute for seeing your own doctor and should not be taken as medical advice.

Staying safe online
ManKind Initiative (2016). Male victims of domestic and partner abuse 30 key facts. Available from:
Holloway, K. (2015). Toxic masculinity is killing men: the roots of male trauma. Available:
Calmzone (2016). Masculinity Audit 2016: understanding the modern masculinity and the causes of male suicide. Available from: