Men victims too: councillor | Bendigo Advertiser

November 11, 2015

A Bendigo councillor says the city needs to do more to protect “henpecked men” from domestic violence which she says is causing some fathers to sleep rough – and driving others to suicide. 

Councillor Elise Chapman said more women were victims of domestic but that a significant number of men were silently suffering abuse and lacked the support offered to their partners. 

“Males are victims of domestic violence as well and, for women, everything that you read about domestic violence is just women, women, women, women,” she said. 

“There’s shelters for women… but there’s just not for men.”

The City of Greater Bendigo addressed a completion report of its Violence Prevention Plan 2012-2015 at Wednesday night’s meeting, and Cr Chapman used the opportunity to say she wanted to see male victims specifically addressed in the city’s next anti-domestic violence plan. 

“As far as domestic violence goes – it’s completely unacceptable and we all agree on that,” Cr Chapman said. 

“[But] if we’re talking about equality, quite often it’s women complaining that we’re not equal and that we don’t get equal [opportunities] and so on and so forth, but on this particular issue, as I said, it’s about a nine-page document and in just about 45 different places… it speaks about womens’ shelters, womens’ this and that…

“Not once, there’s not one mention of anything about men.”

Speaking to the Bendigo Advertiser on Thursday, Cr Chapman said she was aware of men who were forced to sleep rough by their partners. 

“There are no resources for shelters for henpecked men, there isn’t a place for a battered man if his wife decides to ring the police… if he has to leave, where is he going to sleep – in his car?

“I know a person who, when his wife decided they were arguing and she didn’t want him there, that’s exactly what he had to do.

“Domestic violence is not always just a husband punching his wife, wives have been violent to husbands sometimes and it is not always physical.

“Quite often, children are used as pawns.

“Yet we haven’t got resources for them – there are no shelters for henpecked men or battered men out there.”

Cr Chapman said the issue affected a “significant number” of men, citing statistics from the 2010 in which NSW Police recorded 126,325 domestic and family violence incidents involving 92,215 victims and 81,772 perpetrators.

The figures showed 34 per cent of the reported victims were men and 30 per cent of the perpetrators were female. These figures are also cited prominently by the One in Three campaign

“I’m trying to get hold of more statistics relating to the number or suicides by males who are tied up in the family law courts,” she said.

“Imagine if you’re 45 and your wife says ‘get out of house’ and you lose your house, your car, you can’t see your kids… and if you leave you may not have access to your children – it’s pretty tragic.

“There are a lot more male suicides than women and I think that has something to do with.

“Men suicide more because they can’t talk about problems, for women there are a lot of services, a lot of people to help… [but] I couldn’t imagine being a big, burly man being henpecked and abused and having to deal with that.”

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