Male do­mes­tic abuse vic­tims on the rise

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - CITY | STATE - By Jamie Sten­gle

DAL­LAS — A Texas group has opened what’s be­lieved to be only the sec­ond shel­ter in the U.S. ex­clu­sively for men who are vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, as ad­vo­cates say more men are seek­ing help amid chang­ing views about male vic­tims.

“We’re try­ing to help men un­der­stand that it’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK to have emo­tions. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to be vul­ner­a­ble,” said Paige Flink, CEO of The Fam­ily Place in Dal­las.

Be­fore open­ing the 21bed shel­ter in a two-story home in May, Flink’s or­ga­ni­za­tion housed male vic­tims in ho­tels. But Flink said that was that be­com­ing costly and it also wasn’t an ideal ar­range­ment for vic­tims to get sup­port.

“They get a lot of growth from be­ing to­gether,” Flink said.

The num­ber of male vic­tims call­ing the Na­tional Do­mes­tic Abuse Hot­line and its youth-fo­cused project — love is re­spect — has been grow­ing. Last year, about 12,000 male vic­tims called — about 9 per­cent of vic­tims who iden­ti­fied their gen­der. That’s about dou­ble the about 5,800 male vic­tim call­ers from 2010, said hot­line spokes­woman Cameka Craw­ford.

“We be­lieve that there are likely many more men who may not report or seek help,” she said.

Flink said her or­ga­ni­za­tion has shel­tered men abused by male part­ners, fe­male part­ners or rel­a­tives. Some men bring their chil­dren. Flink be­lieves one rea­son her group has seen an in­crease in male vic­tims has to do with how Dal­las po­lice in re­cent years have been han­dling do­mes­tic abuse calls: They ask a se­ries of ques­tions and if some­one is be­lieved to be in dan­ger, that per­son is im­me­di­ately put on the phone with a shel­ter.

About 31 per­cent of men and 37 per­cent of women in the U.S. have ex­pe­ri­enced vi­o­lence or stalk­ing by a part­ner, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion.

LM Otero / Associated Press

The Fam­ily Place shel­ter for men in Dal­las is be­lieved to be only the sec­ond shel­ter in the U.S. ex­clu­sively for men who are vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

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