A new project to help men fleeing domestic abuse is being set up in Bradford with a £234,000 lottery grant.
The confidential helpline and housing service will be the first of its kind in the district and is in response to an emerging picture of domestic violence against men over the last 18 months.
Bradford Cyrenians Domestic Abuse Service hopes the new scheme, funded by £234,024 from the Big Lottery Fund, will help men have the confidence to escape abusers and give them the support needed to rebuild their lives.
It will provide a dedicated confidential helpline giving free advice and guidance for men needing suitable accommodation.
The hope is the anonymous service will encourage under-represented male communities to come forward including gay, bisexual and transgender men – because men are often viewed as the perpetrators of violence and not the victim, they are often the ones who lose their home.
The director of Bradford Cyrenians, Rubina Bokhari, said she hoped the service would help break down barriers, such as embarrassment, shame, or fear of ridicule, which stopped men asking for help.
“Following several years of lobbying and campaigning to raise awareness around men experiencing violence and abuse, Bradford Cyrenians are delighted to know they have secured three years funding to develop a project for men fleeing domestic abuse,” she said.
“While we recognise that women with or without children are, in the main, victims of domestic abuse, there are men living in fear of violence and abuse and this cannot be ignored.
“Bradford Cyrenians stands firmly against all forms of violence and abuse. Violence and abuse is unacceptable irrespective of the victim’s gender, race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, and/or disability.
“This project is an opportunity for us to develop an innovative project that aims to help and support vulnerable men to live life without fear, intimidation and violence both physical and/or emotional.”
The group, established for more than 40 years, already helps re-home people and in recent months has found a need for a service targeted at male domestic abuse victims.
Rubina said: “As time has gone on and we’ve started talking to people about violence they’ve experienced whether it’s from partners or family members. Something’s been emerging that’s made me think, ‘right, we need to do something’.
“There’s a small pattern developing within the last 18 months. In that time we’ve dealt with 18 men experiencing domestic abuse.”
True figures around male domestic abuse might never be known, but the service would help whoever came forward.
The phone line should go live in around three months and Bradford Cyrenians is already searching for suitable city centre premises.
The group works with other organisations to provide accommodation and 12 places will be available as part of the new project.
It is one of nine across Yorkshire and the Humber sharing £2.5 million from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme.