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Domestic violence against men

3-minute read

Domestic violence can happen to anyone, no matter who you are. Violence or abuse from somebody close to you can be devastating and have a negative effect on your mental and physical health. It’s important to know that you don’t have to go through it alone and that help is out there.

What is domestic violence against men?

Domestic violence is when someone uses violence or controlling techniques to gain power over somebody in their family.

Domestic violence is the same, whether it happens to men, women or children. It doesn’t matter if you are in a same-sex relationship or part of any culture, ethnic group or religion. Abusive relationships can happen between parents and children, partners or even between brothers and sisters.

What are the signs that you may be experiencing domestic violence?

There are many different types of domestic violence, including:

  • physical assault — punching, slapping, hitting, scratching
  • bullying
  • emotional and psychological abuse — yelling, put-downs, being ignored
  • limiting decision making — having all decisions made for you
  • social isolation — not being able to see your family or friends
  • dominating behaviour — behaviour that frightens, harms or controls you

How can I break the cycle of abuse?

The first step is to realise that the abuse is happening.

Once you realise that abuse it happening to you, there are things you can to do try and break the cycle such as:

  • report what is going on to the police or someone you trust
  • get support from someone you trust
  • write a safety plan of how to keep yourself safe and where to go if you’re in danger
  • keep a journal of everything that happens

Sadly, if the abuse has happened once, it can happen again. Remember that you are not the one to blame for what is happening.

What if people don't believe me?

You might worry that people won’t believe you if you tell them. That is why it is important to find someone you trust. Sometimes the best people to talk to are professionals, such as the police, a doctor or counsellor. They understand that men, as well as women, can be in abusive relationships.

How to deal with stigma

You might also be worried about stigma and what people will think of you if you talk about the abuse but men have the same right to be safe as everyone else. Here are some tips that might help:

  • remember that the violence is not your fault
  • choose who you tell and what you tell
  • talk to a professional domestic violence service

Where to get help

  • 1800 RESPECT (national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service) — call 1800 737 732 or chat online
  • Mensline Australia (telephone and online support for men) — call 1300 78 99 78 or chat online
  • Men’s Referral Service (telephone counselling service for men) — call 1300 766 491
  • Dads in Distress (support for separated dads and their families) — call 1300 853 437
  • Victims & Witnesses of Crime Court Support (free court support service to any victim or police witness of crime) — call (02) 9287 7671
  • QLife (support for same-sex couples) — call 1800 184 527 or chat online
  • Lifeline (anyone having a personal crisis) — call 13 11 14 or chat online
  • Services Australia has information on domestic violence in languages other than English (including audio resources).


MensLine Australia (Are you experiencing violence or abuse in your relationship?), (Benefits of talking to someone), 1800RESPECT (Domestic and family violence: What is it and where do I find support?), Lifeline (Domestic and family violence), One in Three Campaign (Statistics and stigma: The silence around men and domestic violence)

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: February 2018

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