Dads Unlimited, a national charity based in Ashford, Kent has launched one of the first domestic abuse support services of its kind – a male-victim domestic abuse support service for men in Kent and Medway.
DAVE is a Domestic Abuse Victim Empowerment service and will support all men who have been victims of domestic abuse in Kent and Medway, whether they have children or not, and regardless of sexuality.
Funded by Matthew Scott, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, with support from the Ministry of Justice, Dads Unlimited has secured significant funding to launch the bespoke service to ensure that male victims of domestic abuse get access to safety planning, support, and advocacy in a way that’s specifically relevant to men and their experience of abuse.
Domestic abuse is horrific, whichever gender is perpetuating the abuse and it is horrific whether the gender of the victims and survivors is male, female, or other. Dads Unlimited has long campaigned against domestic abuse, and alongside their support for female-victim domestic abuse support services, Dads Unlimited has assistance criteria which means that they proactively will not support perpetrators of abuse and will withdraw mentoring support should any information come to light.
Over the first four years of Dads Unlimited’s mentoring service supporting Dads after family separation, it has been apparent that a large proportion of Dads have faced some form of domestic abuse including physical abuse, psychological abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse – around 40% of clients have reported either being a victim or not sure if they have been a victim.
The new DAVE service will be available on its own website – www.SaveDAVE.org.uk and posters and leaflets are being distributed across Kent and Medway to highlight the service and how male victims can access support.
Gay Larter, Director of Domestic Abuse Services at Dads Unlimited has ten years of experience in supporting victims and witnesses giving evidence in criminal courts and she is looking forward to a future where we have helped to change the existing narrative and have broken down the existing barriers that are preventing men from reporting their abuse and seeking support.
What our current services tell us is that there is an issue around the confidence of male victims to come forward and complain; but with support we hope to address this and raise awareness of an issue which has largely remained invisible