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One in four domestic abuse victims in Kent are men, say crime stats

One in four victims of domestic abuse in Kent are men, according to new crime figures.

Police in the county have recorded 20,659 reports of domestic abuse so far this year, of which 5,398 involved a male victim.

The force also recorded 4,804 incidents in 2016 but despite the number of complaints, charges were brought in only 7.5% of cases that year.

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Domestic violence against men is on the rise in Kent. Picture: Getty Images
Domestic violence against men is on the rise in Kent. Picture: Getty Images

ManKind, a national victim support charity that has run a help line for over 10 years, believes as many as 40% of abuse victims are male, suggesting that many crimes go unreported.

Its chairman Mark Brooks said: “When it comes to male victims there continues to be a reporting gap.

“When it comes to them reporting to police it’s about one in five and the reason for that is that men generally don’t seek help when they’re in trouble as much as women do they also fear that they won’t be believed or recognised when they do come forward or for many men they don’t actually recognise or realise they are a victim at all.

“There’s a real stigma about being a victim of domestic abuse.

"It really undermines their sense of what it means to be a man, especially if the person carrying out the abuse is a woman.

“They feel a sense of shame, feel a sense of embarrassment, and they fear they won’t be believed or even be laughed at.”

Matthew Scott, Kent's police and crime commissioner, will be chairing and hosting a conference at the Kent Police College in Maidstone today which will bring together organisations which support victims.

The event comes ahead of National men's Day on Sunday.

Mr Scott said: "The event is to raise awareness of the number of victims of domestic abuse who are men in order to discus the challenges they face and make sure that the police and other services are available should they become a victim."

Mr Scott blames a lack of faith in the system for the small number of charges following reports.

"The support that they get around it isn't as good as it has become for women so there are cases where they don't support further charges of further action or they don't feel like they're being believed so there is some work to do for policing and the criminal justice system in order to try and get that number higher," he said.

Reports of domestic abuse where the victim is male have risen 12% since last year but Mr Scott believes this increase reflects a positive change.

He said: "A lot of work has been done by Kent Police and others to ensure that we have more people coming forward giving victims the confidence to report.

"This is why we're seeing a rise in the number of domestic abuse crimes that are being reported to police so I think broadly whilst we don't want people to be victims of domestic abuse what were seeing here is a step in the right direction in ensuring we are capturing the true number of victims."

Mr Scott has spoken out on the issue of domestic abuse against men in the past and is an ambassador for White Ribbon UK, an organisation which aims to combat violence against women and girls.

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