An Investigation into the Needs of Men Experiencing Domestic Abuse and Current Service Provision (Wales)

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This study asked the research questions: ‘What are the needs of men experiencing domestic abuse’ and ‘Is current service provision meeting those needs?’ From a policy, research and practice perspective, domestic abuse has largely focussed on heterosexual women. Knowledge, awareness and understanding of male victimisation is largely absent within policy and academic literature. The issue is gaining momentum and research is expanding. However, in-depth understanding from a male victim perspective remains underdeveloped. Moreover, no previous literature was identified that had explored service provision for abused men in Wales, or the perspectives of the professionals supporting them.

    This study used mixed methods comprising of three data-collection phases using parallel and sequential design. Phase One consisted of a service description and data questionnaire to identify existing provision and data collection practices. Across Wales, 48 domestic abuse and sexual violence services were identified as supporting men. Thirty-seven services (77%) responded to Phase One. Phase Two, a specific service information questionnaire, requested data pertaining to the numbers of men accessing and the needs identified. Twenty-six (79%) of a potential 33 services completed the Phase Two questionnaire. In parallel, seven in-depth interviews were undertaken with men who had experienced domestic abuse and sought support. Interviews were analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. Data collection concluded with Phase Three and the completion of 20 semi-structured interviews with managers and practitioners of domestic abuse services. Interviews were analysed using Thematic Analysis. Findings across the data set were triangulated using a meta-matrix.

    Triangulation identified two dominant themes: a need for recognition and limited provision. A lack of recognition (of male victims and the impact of domestic abuse on them) prevented all subsequent needs identified in in-depth interviews from being met. For services, a lack of recognition of the issue has created a perpetuating cycle of unsubstantiated need and limited availability of provision. Service data information further informed the development of a unique interactive service map of Wales.

    For male victims there is a visible inequality created and sustained by the gendered positioning of domestic abuse; men are bound by prevailing gender norms and domestic abuse constructs of the male perpetrator and female victim. Abused men are denied equal recognition, are not readily accepted and victimisation remains perceived as inconsequential. These perspectives prevent self-recognition of victimisation, hinder help seeking and fuel a limited provision.

    Drawing upon findings and existing literature, this research demonstrates how the lack of recognition is sustained and how it impacts male victims and provision. The service needs of abused men are presented and recommendations for practice offered. Consideration is given to opportunities for change. Achieving recognition requires a move away from the gendered narrative of domestic abuse. A dedicated commitment from those with the influence of determining normative need and serious social issues (government ministers, policy, funders, researchers, practice, national organisations, media and wider society) is needed. All experiences of domestic abuse are serious, important and deserving of recognition and access to specialist targeted provision.
    Date of AwardApr 2018
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorCarolyn Wallace (Supervisor), Joyce Kenkre (Supervisor) & simon Borja (Supervisor)

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