Number of men facing domestic violence in UK rising

LONDON: A large number of men in Britain are now becoming victims of domestic violence. Each year, at least 1.2 million women become victims of domestic violence. Around 784,000 men have now been found to experience domestic violence and abuse in England and Wales with one in three women and nearly one in five men experiencing it at some point in their lives.

Domestic violence and abuse includes physical abuse, threats, emotional abuse, sexual assault or stalking. Domestic violence costs the UK an estimated £15.7bn a year. The latest data comes days after it was shown that men in Britain weren’t safe. As many as 72,000 males are raped and sexually assaulted in UK every year.

More than one in 10 (12%) rapes in UK was against men. Latest figures also show there were 2,164 rape and sexual assaults against males aged 13 or over recorded by the police in the year ending September 2013. National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has now said that health care professionals should receive training so that they can recognize the signs of domestic violence and abuse and ensure that those affected are aware of the help and support available to them.

“Domestic violence and abuse are far more common than people think,” said Professor Mike Kelly, director of public health at NICE. “It can affect anyone – particularly women and children, but also men, regardless of age, geographical location, income, relationship type, family set-up or ethnic origin,” he added. Despite being a common problem there are currently no basic training requirements for all health professionals in the undergraduate curriculum on how to respond to domestic violence.

NICE estimates that domestic violence costs the country around £15 billion a year, of which £9.9 billion is in health and social care costs. Gene Feder, professor of primary health care at the University of Bristol and the Chair of the group which developed the guidance said, “We need to wake up to the magnitude of the problem. Women who experience domestic violence and abuse have a three times greater risk of depression, four times greater risk of anxiety and seven times greater risk of posttraumatic stress disorder. We tend to deal with the medical problems but don’t recognize the underlying abuse.”

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