Closure-threatened charity condems Scottish Government’s “blatant inequality”

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Male domestic abuse charity hits out as Scottish Government refuses eleventh hour plea 

11th October 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Scotland’s only charity supporting male victims of abuse has accused the Scottish Government of “blatant inequality” after it rejected an eleventh hour plea for funding.

Abused Men in Scotland (Amis), which runs a vital confidential helpline as well as one-to-one support for male victims, is on the brink of closure after its main funder, Big Lottery Scotland, changed its application criteria from national to local priorities.

Its chair, former Lothian and Borders deputy chief constable Tom Wood, said pleas for government cash support have failed, a situation he said “contrasts sharply” with its intervention which saved two rape crisis groups on the brink of closure earlier this year.   

As the only organisation of its kind in Scotland, its demise would mean male victims have nowhere to turn, potentially leading vulnerable men towards suicide.

While official figures show 20% of domestic abuse victims are male, “male victims get nothing” despite women’s groups being well funded, said Wood.

He said: “Services for the four fifths of women [abuse victims] are well funded, services for the remainder – male victims – get nothing, in what has become an example of blatant inequality."

Wood added: "The truth that there are substantial numbers of male victims clashes with lazy, black and white thinking that brackets all women as victims and all men as perpetrators.

“The attitudes they face are simplistic, flying in the face of the evidence and are just plain wrong.”

How Mr Five was saved by a lifeline service

Closure-threatened charity condems Scottish Government’s “blatant inequality”

For 10 years of their 20-year relationship, Mr Five was emotionally abused by his female partner. He had no access to money, was given £10 per week and without a bank card, had no financial control, including the benefit money he should have been in receipt of. 

His  partner’s behaviour also resulted in his youngest child verbally and physically abusing him but he chose not to involve the police. 

The controlling behaviour resulting into Mr Five edging close to breaking point and he experienced suicidal feelings. He also felt the pressure from those telling him to get out and as he felt like he wasn’t following their advice, so his isolation grew. 

Eventually through help from Amis he managed to flee the home he shared with his partner and move into a council house. And with support from local food banks and welfare support, he is now rebuilding his life from scratch.  

A programme of support by Amis over the last 15 months has turned his life around and now has hope for his future. But with two final sessions to go, Mr Five is devastated the service is winding down to close. 

This is despite huge inroads being made into tackling domestic abuse in the last 30 years, a problem that has been “dragged out of the shadows” with authorities giving it the attention it has always deserved.

Wolf said: “The logic is simple. To achieve a synergy, all areas of domestic violence must be addressed with the needs of individual victims in mind and with principles of fairness and equality at the centre.”

The charity, which is based in Edinburgh’s southside but supports men in every local authority area, has been backed by Lothian region MSP Jeremy Balfour, who urged the first minister to intervene to avert closure. 

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said its funding supports services for male and female survivors of domestic abuse, adding Amis would be included in talks around funding for the implementation of the country’s new gender-neutral domestic abuse legisaltion.

She added: “We recognise that Amis faces a challenging situation and met with them earlier this year to consider how we ensure that people accessing services continue to be able to receive support.”