Men’s Alliance Ambition for a Crisis Centre – Haven for Men
AMBITIONS TO OPEN FIRST REFUGE TO ADDRESS SERVICES GAP FOR MALE VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE AND THEIR CHILDREN ANNOUNCED BY MEN’S ALLIANCE, NORTHERN IRELAND
Ambitions for Northern Ireland’s first refuge for male victims of domestic abuse and their children are being announced today, to address a chronic lack of support services for men in crisis.
As yet, there are no beds available in NI to give men the confidence to leave, and stay away from abusive relationships despite 2019/2020 PSNI figures showing that out of 30,000 reports of domestic incidences each year, over 10,000 or one third are received from men.
The real figure is almost certainly higher given the stigma and shame felt by men about domestic abuse adding to their fear and reluctance to report it.
Once operational, the unique facility, Haven Wood, will operate 24-hours a day across the year to ensure men do not need to make a choice between their own safety and their children’s.
The safe space, giving men access to services to meet their psychological, emotional, practical, social and peer support needs will be located in a secluded, gated rural area on extensive lands, in the Lagan Valley area.
Recruitment and funding plans are also being developed for the establishment of a full management team including a Services Manager, Residential House Managers, Sessional Counsellors to support men in crisis and a dedicated Fundraiser.
Haven For Men is the vision of Carey Baxter, Chairman of Men’s Alliance Northern Ireland who established the MANi Peer Support Group for male victims of domestic abuse on Facebook in 2018. Feedback from some of its 900 users showed a clear need for improved services.
Carey said: “Our ambition for a refuge has evolved from a growing conversation at Men’s Alliance Northern Ireland about the chronic lack of specialist support services for men and their children who find themselves in domestic abuse situations.
Existing resources are at best scarce and at worst inadequate. It is our long-term ambition to buy a site on which we will develop our service provision, to include accommodation. This is the first step to eventually building a dedicated Therapeutic, Resource and Crisis Centre; offering men a welcoming, warm, safe ‘non-institutional’ environment.
“Up until now our online support group has offered male victims of domestic abuse a safe space where they can come together, be believed, supported and realise they are not alone. It supports men as they transition from being victims in crisis to survivors while also enabling them to maintain a meaningful and protective relationship with their children. Haven For Men’s Haven Wood will be a game changer; not only in providing men a sanctuary or raising the profile of domestic abuse against males but also in highlighting the associated stigma.
“Many people still don’t believe domestic abuse against men actually exists. The reality is, abuse is a human issue faced by men and women. Indeed it is not just a gender issue and is unacceptable in any situation. I believe everyone faced with abuse deserves help and support at the point of need and especially when they are at their most vulnerable.”
Carey went on to say “Many men believe they are alone, isolated, invisible and believe the abuse they are experiencing is happening to no-one but them. We want to educate and increase awareness about the extent and seriousness of the issues involved and the wider impact on families, work and communities when men in crisis are not heard or supported.
“We are now taking practical steps to in time provide men, including those with children, a place of safety at times of crisis. With no refuge beds currently available across NI our work has urgency. Our mission is to meet those immediate critical family needs, then to support men in building resilience, recover and move forward with their lives.“
We are a small team, with a huge ambition, if you would like to help and are a fundraiser, a Corporate Sponsor, or someone with relevant experience please get in touch. We have no target dates for completion of this project, but are aware of the need, and the urgency of delivery which will quite literally save lives.
If you would like to be involved on any level please get in touch at info@MensAllianceNI.co.uk