There is a range of support and information available to help male victims of domestic abuse escape and for friends, family and work colleagues to help too. Whilst you cannot always tell what goes on behind closed doors, there are some telltale signs and symptoms of emotional, psychological or physical abuse. If you notice these warning signs of abuse in a friend, family member, or work colleague, please think how you can help him escape.
It is key to remember that domestic abuse does not always mean physical violence – it also covers coercive and controlling behaviour, including psychological and emotional control. Some men do not suffer from violence but suffer terrible psychological and emotional abuse.
If you are unsure, please call us (01823 334244) – we receive lots of calls from concerned friends and family – every call is welcome. We would suggest you also look at our Survivors’ Stories page – is the man you know, going through the same? And of course, if there is a man you know who is in immediate danger – call the police.
The warning signs that a man could be a victim fall into four main categories:
- Changes in behaviour or demeanour
- Changes in physical appearance and clothing
- Changes in contact pattern
- Changes in work behaviour
|Warning signs of psychological control|
|Men who are being abused may:|
|Warning signs of physical abuse:|
|Men who are being physically abused may:
|Warning signs of isolation:|
|People who are being isolated by their abuser may:
You may hear (in person or via the ‘grapevine’) from his partner that he now has no time for or dislikes his friends and family
Speak up if you suspect domestic violence or domestic abuse
If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up! If you’re hesitating—telling yourself that it’s none of your business, you might be wrong, or the person might not want to talk about it—keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save his (and his children’s).
Talk to the person in private and let him know that you’re concerned. Point out the things you’ve noticed that make you worried. Tell the person that you’re there, whenever he feels ready to talk. Reassure the person that you’ll keep whatever is said between the two of you, and let him know that you’ll help in any way you can.
Remember, abusers are very good at controlling and manipulating their victims. People who have been emotionally abused or battered are depressed, drained, scared, ashamed, and confused. They need help to get out, yet they’ve often been isolated from their family and friends. By picking up on the warning signs and offering support, you can help them escape an abusive situation and begin healing.
If you are an employer and think one of your male staff is a victim – please refer to the Public Health England Employers’ Toolkit
|Do’s and Don’ts|
|Ask if something is wrong||Wait for him to come to you|
|Express concern||Judge or blame|
|Listen and validate (believe them)||Pressure him|
|Offer help (build a plan)||Give advice|
|Support his decisions||Place conditions on your support|
|Persuade them to call helplines or the police (offer to go with him)||Show any doubt|
|Give him confidence that their can be a positive outcome|
|Reassure him – he is not to blame, he is not weak, he is not alone|
|Show them examples of other men this has happened to (use our Survivors’ Stories section)|
|Thank you to Helpguide and Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. for some of this information|