FAQs on Domestic Violence for fathers
Male victims of domestic violence
I am a father who was a victim of domestic violence from my child’s mother. The social worker does not seem to take the abuse seriously. What can I do about this?
Men as well as women can be victims of domestic violence and this happens in same sex relationships too. Men and women have the same rights to protection and to be safe. Men’s experiences of domestic violence may differ in some ways to women’s experiences. They may also face challenges in disclosing the abuse and accessing help. Children can be harmed by witnessing domestic violence at home regardless of whether it is carried out by their mother or their father.
Sometimes, fathers who have experienced domestic violence may not feel supported or believed by their child’s social worker or other professionals working with the family. It is worth trying to discuss this with the social worker and/or their manager and explaining more about what your concerns are.
It can be a good idea to get in touch with a specialist domestic violence service which works with male victims or suggesting that the social worker contacts them to find out more about good practice in working with male victims.
You may be able to access specialist advice and support from the Men’s Advice Line which is a dedicated helpline run by the charity Respect or from the men’s domestic abuse charity Mankind Initiative.
If you are still very unhappy about how children’s services are responding to both you and your concerns, then you could consider making a complaint so that this is properly looked into. You can find information about challenging decision and making complaints here.
You may also want to access private law advice both about protecting yourself from domestic violence and about applications in relation to seeing or caring for your child. You can find information about how to access legal advice here.
My child still lives with their mother and I am worried for them. How can I get children’s services to investigate my concerns?
It can be very frustrating if you think your child is at risk of harm but professionals do not accept this. If you are accessing support as a victim of domestic violence you can also discuss your concerns with the professionals working with you. They may be able to help you explain your concerns for your child to children’s services.
If you are unhappy with how children’s services have responded to your concerns or you disagree with an assessment that a social worker has completed then you can put in writing what you are dissatisfied with and why and if necessary you can make a complaint. You can also say what you think needs to happen.
As a father, you can think about legal options to make sure that you can see your child or to apply for them to live with you if necessary. You may find Family Rights Group’s child arrangements order advice sheet helpful and you can find out where to get legal advice here.
I didn’t report my ex-partner’s violence to me because I thought no-one would believe me. Now social workers are concerned about her care of our child. I am worried that if I tell them about the domestic violence now this will make matters worse. What can I do?
Many victims feel unable to report domestic violence at the time that it is happening and often do not know how to access support. Social workers should have an understanding of how domestic violence affects men as well as women. They will need to consider how this impacts on your child. It is important that you work with your child’s social worker to help them understand what their experience has been and what help or support they may need now.
It is understandable that you do not want to make the situation worse. However, where there has been domestic violence, whether by the child’s mother or father, this will need to be addressed as part of the social worker’s assessment of the child’s situation and to keep them safe. You may find it helpful to access support from a specialist domestic violence organisation such as Men’s Advice Line.