Domestic abuse shelters for men help spotlight male victims

2017-10-29 06:15


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Dallas -  A Texas group has opened what's believed to be only the second shelter in the US exclusively for men who are victims of domestic violence, as advocates say more men are seeking help amid changing views about male victims.

"We're trying to help men understand that it's OK to ask for help. It's OK to have emotions. It's OK to cry. It's OK to be vulnerable," said Paige Flink, CEO of The Family Place in Dallas.

Before opening the 21-bed shelter in a two-storey home in May, Flink's organisation, like many others, housed male victims in hotels. But Flink said that not only was that becoming costly as the numbers grew, it also wasn't an ideal arrangement for victims to get support.

"They get a lot of growth from being together," Flink said.

Seek help

The number of male victims calling the National Domestic Hotline and its youth-focused project - loveisrespect - has been growing. Last year, about 12 000 male victims called - about 9% of victims who identified their gender. That's about double the about 5 800 male victim callers from 2010, said hotline spokesperson Cameka Crawford.

"We believe that there are likely many more men who may not report or seek help for a number of reasons," she said.

Flink said her organisation had sheltered men abused by male partners, female partners or relatives. Some men bring their children.

She believes one reason her group has seen an increase in male victims has to do with how Dallas police in recent years have been handling domestic abuse calls: They ask a series of questions and if someone is believed to be in danger, that person is immediately put on the phone with a shelter.

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