Domestic abuse study finds that males are likely to report a female perpetrator

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A study, co-authored by University of South Wales (USW) researcher Dr Sarah Wallace, analysed the client data of male callers to a UK domestic abuse helpline for men. They found that 95% were calling regarding abuse perpetrated by a female. 

In the UK, existing research in this area has largely used qualitative approaches. This study used a large quantitative data-set, to better understand the profile and needs of abused men. Analysis has enabled a unique exploration and greater insight into male victim callers’ profiles and their associated needs.

Dr Sarah Wallace, Senior Research Fellow at the Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care, USW, said: “Domestic abuse is a serious issue for anyone, irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, or any other protected characteristics. Ensuring recognition and support is available to all is vital.

“Findings from this study offer greater understanding of male callers demographic profiles and the types of abuse they have experienced or are still experiencing.”

The study also found that most callers were still in a relationship with their abusive partner and that 25% reported one child in the home, 24% reported two children in the home, and 12% reported there being three or more children in the home. As previous research has found, decisions regarding leaving or reporting the abuse are likely to be heavily influenced by the presence of children through fear of losing contact with their children, and a desire to protect their children.

Recommendations from this study include the importance of services being trained in the gender-specific needs of abused men. For example, the impact of gender stereotypes on recognition and disclosure of abuse; cultural and structural barriers relating to men’s desire to remain with their children; and how stereotypes relating to domestic violence mask men’s visibility.


Dr Wallace is a member of the Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care.