Men’s experiences of help-seeking for female-perpetrated intimate partner violence: A qualitative exploration

Hogan, Kevin Francis, Clarke, Victoria and Ward, Tony (2021) Men’s experiences of help-seeking for female-perpetrated intimate partner violence: A qualitative exploration. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 21 (4). pp. 934-945. ISSN 1746-1405

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The subject of female-perpetuated intimate partner violence (IPV) against men has been one of controversy, with well-rehearsed arguments surrounding both the nature and existence of female-perpetrated abuse against men. The aims of this study were to explore men’s help-seeking experiences and/or their perceptions of utilising support services/support networks following IPV victimisation. Consequently, this study explored the help-seeking experiences of 26, largely British, men who self-identified as having experienced female-perpetrated IPV. As the focus was on subjective experiences, a qualitative design was employed. Participation was invited from men who had sought help for their IPV victimisation from a range of sources as well as those who had not sought help at all. Semi-structured interviews explored the men’s experiences of seeking help, and barriers to seeking help, following IPV. The data were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. Some of the participants who took part in this study had received formal support for their experiences of IPV. (i.e., counselling, calling IPV helplines and support services, contact with social workers or the police) and informal support (e.g., speaking to work colleagues, family, and friends). Five participants had never spoken to anybody about their experiences prior to taking part in the interview. A range of barriers prevented the men from seeking help. First and foremost, the importance of maintaining a sense of masculinity consistently underpinned the participants’ narratives. The men’s fear of being judged negatively by others was often not unfounded. Negative help-seeking experiences included being treated with suspicion and contempt. Positive help-seeking experiences facilitated the men in recognising their relationship as abusive, which for some of the men was influential in their decision to leave or seek help. The lack of recognition and understanding of male IPV within society was of concern to most of the men. Some expressed a desire to use their own experiences in order to help other men in abusive relationships. These results have important implications for the development of appropriate support for male victims, including the need for practitioners to be non-judgmental whilst assisting men in recognising their relationship as abusive.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of of Arts, Society and Professional Studies > Department of Health and Behavioural Sciences
Depositing User: Ms Hazel Barham
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2021 19:28
Last Modified: 06 May 2022 04:00

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