The challenges male victims face as victims of crimes considered under the term violence against women and girls
34% of men reported they had experienced at least one form of sexual harassment in the last year.
The Government has published a Policy Paper intended as an informational resource on the male victims’ landscape, including the specific challenges male victims face as victims of domestic violence. The Policy Paper sits alongside the Government’s Tacking Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy 2021.
The term ‘violence against women and girls’ (‘VAWG’) refers to acts of violence or abuse that disproportionately affect women and girls. Typically, this includes offences of rape, sexual violence, domestic abuse, stalking, “honour”-based abuse, revenge porn and slavery and human trafficking offences associated with sex work and prostitution.
Men and boys can also be victims of these offences and it is important that this is not forgotten to ensure victims have the confidence to report when they have been the victim of these offences.
Following a public consultation on VAWG, the Government reviewed the responses received from men and recognised the challenges that can be faced by men and boys. Using the feedback from the consultation, some of the issues the Government recognised were:
- Men and boys can be victims of domestic abuse and violence but may face barriers to accessing some support services and may experience particular vulnerabilities. Some men and boys do not come forward to report offences.
- Men are more likely to report being victims of partner abuse than family abuse. This follows the same trend as for female victims.
- The Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse estimates that at least 5% of boys and young men experience sexual abuse before the age of 16.
- The Crime Survey of England and Wales (March 2020) estimates that 526,000 men have been the victim of stalking (compared to 977,000 women).
- Men and boys are at risk of “honour”-based offences for similar reasons to women, Such as to punish behaviour, to ‘cure’ or mask trans-identity or homosexuality and to obtain visas or find a carer for someone with a disability.
- 34% of men reported they had experienced at least one form of sexual harassment in the last year. In the workplace, men were almost as likely to experience workplace harassment as women.
- Straight men were half as likely to experience domestic violence as gay or bi-sexual men.
- Trans-gender people were significantly more likely to be victims of all crimes. GBT+ men may also be victims of so-called conversion therapy.
- One in three callers to the Men’s Advice Line – the national helpline for male victims of domestic violence - were identified as being from an ethnic minority background.
- Disabled men were more than twice as likely to have experienced domestic abuse than non-disabled men.
- The Male Survivors Partnership concluded that 20% of men sampled took over 31 years to disclose being sexually abused.
Using this data, the Government has made several commitments, including:
- Continuing to involve diverse national men’s groups in stakeholder engagement on issues related to VAWG.
- A further £1.4 million will be committed to the Male Rape Fund in 2022-23.
- Introduce a Victims Law as soon as possible to guarantee that victims are at the heart of the criminal justice system.
It is important that the focus remains on women and girls as they are more likely to be the victims of VAWG offences. However, it should not go unnoticed that men and boys can also be victims too. The Government’s Policy Paper recognises that there are several systemic, environmental, and cultural barriers as to why men and boys do not report when they are a victim of these offences.
By making it clear in documents like this Policy Paper, the Government demonstrate that they are committed to ensuring men and boys do not get left behind. It is hoped that by making it clear that men and boys can be affected too it will encourage victims to come forward so they can receive the support they need.
For more information on any of the issues raised, please visit our dedicated Violence Against Women and Girls page.