'Men deserve help just as much as women do': Domestic abuse in Wakefield discussed

A quarter of domestic abuse victims in Wakefield are male, figures have revealed.

Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 10:01 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 10:02 am

A report detailing incidents across the district during 2018 said that 75 per cent of victims were female, while 25 per cent were male.

The same report also drew a link between domestic violence and poverty.

Wakefield Council's efforts to tackle the problem were discussed at a scrutiny committee meeting on Monday morning.

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25 per cent of domestic abuse victims in Wakefield in 2018 were male.

Councillors were told that although the district has a women's refuge for female victims fleeing abusive relationships, only "one or two" such refuges for men exist anywhere in the UK.

Campaign literature issued by the council, however, is targeting both male and female victims to encourage them to report it.

Coun Maureen Cummings, chair of the area's Safer Together partnership, suggested that the issue was still under-reported among both sexes.

But she added: "We need to do more for men. It's a testosterone thing - for a man to come forward to say they're being abused is a big thing.

Domestic abuse remains under-reported by victims of both sexes.

"We're hoping more and more men come forward because they deserve help just as much as the women do."

Committee chairman Coun Graham Isherwood said he knew of one "well-known local figure" whose wife "used to kick seven bells out of him".

"It does affect men too", he added.

New leaflets with information and signposts for help are to be distributed across community centres throughout the Wakefield district.

A ward-by-ward breakdown put before the committee said that incidents "tend to be higher in the more deprived" areas.

Wakefield East, Airedale and Ferry Fryston, and South Elmsall and South Kirkby had the highest rate of domestic violence incidents. All three areas have a high proportion of neighbourhoods among the most deprived in the UK.

Pontefract South councillor David Jones said: "I think we need to be much more explicit with our messages and more on the ball with getting our messages out.

"There's other authorities where the message is plastered all over the council buildings.

"In Pontefract South, there's significant pockets of poverty and there's clearly a link between poverty and domestic abuse, and that's where we need to offer more support."

But Coun Cummings replied: "It's not just about poverty, it's about financial abuse as well. It's happening everywhere.

"There's Sandal, Woolley and Notton where financial abuse has happened.

"Where there is poverty, a lot of those cases got to the police because of other issues. It's right across the board, it really is."

Information about how and where help for domestic abuse victims can be found is hereLocal Democracy Reporting Service