What does it mean to have a gender inclusive approach?
Gender inclusive services, such as MenCASA, recognise that people of all genders may suffer abuse and that people of all genders may abuse their intimate partners and this is the premise upon which we work. We focus our work on the individuals and their experiences. Domestic abuse will be experienced differently by everyone, despite their gender.
Most of the statistics you’ll see suggest that women are more likely to be a victim of domestic violence than men. However, more comprehensive studies of domestic abuse and violence suggest that most domestic abuse and violence is reciprocal i.e. both parties are engaging in abusive and/or violent behaviour. It has been shown that men and women are equally likely to initiate and reciprocate in violence towards each other and that motivations for abuse and violence were often the same between men and women, debunking the idea that IPV is a gendered crime.
When figures of non-reporting are unknown for any gender, making any gender-bias to victims of domestic abuse and violence can only be dangerous and silencing for victims. There is very little support available for victims who are male, trans, or any other gender than women.
Men can also suffer abuse – and there is very little support available to them because of the gender-bias that is prevalent around domestic abuse and violence.
A lack of gender-inclusive domestic abuse services in the UK perpetuates a paradigm that leaves victims of domestic abuse who identify as male unsupported. Our hope is that by the introduction of services such as MenCASA and the ongoing work of other gender-inclusive organisations, the support being offered to people will give opportunity for a more balanced and equitable approach.