man with back to camera

As part of LGFL’s holistic approach to divorce, Director Rita Gupta attended the ManKind conference at the end of 2019. In this second article, Rita highlights the effect of witnessing domestic violence for children, the financial impact of court action to enforce child arrangements, and other important issues. She also details the signs of coercive control over men, to help family and friends spot the signs.

Domestic abuse and children

Domestic violence does not happen in a vacuum. It impacts on the whole family. Domestic abuse impacts on the children regardless of their gender.

  • A child witnessing their parent’s suffering is sufficient to trigger PTSD over many years.
  • Intimate parent violence is an adverse childhood experience (ACE).
  • There is no difference if a child sees mum or dad being hit or being the abuser.
  • Children of either gender are more likely to become involved in violent and abusive behaviour when they are older. (1)

If you are experiencing domestic violence, the time to act is now. Call 999 and if possible, get yourself and your children to a place of safety. Call the ManKind confidential helpline on 01823 334244. Then, once you’re safe, contact us for professional legal advice on how to proceed.


Should I stay or should I go?

As we’ve discussed in our own article (Men are victims too: the ManKind domestic violence conference), it is better for the parents to live apart, than for their children to continually witness violence or dominating and abusive behaviour. However, this raises the possibility for parental alienation, where one parent (often the resident parent) continually undermines and seeks to separate children from the other parent. There is increasing pressure from various groups to have alienation included in the Domestic Abuse Bill as a recognised form of abuse.

As an experienced family lawyer, I’d add another element - financial abuse. The constant need to enforce child arrangements through the court is costly and time-consuming. Court appearances inevitably affect a parent’s ability to work and earn an income, due to the need to take precious days off for court appearances.

If you want to discuss your legal position regarding any aspect of domestic violence or abuse, call us. We offer a free 30-minute consultation in discreet offices where nobody will know you’ve come to talk to us. Call us in complete confidence on 01189 735521.


Nowhere to go

One of the major issues around domestic violence against men is the lack of safe accommodation and support. Across the UK, there are only 2160 refuge spaces for domestic violence victims, of which just 36 are assigned to men. This needs to change if male domestic violence victims are to get the support, advice or protection they need.


ManKind and the military

We applaud that ManKind are working with the armed services to raise awareness of abuse. 87% of our armed services personnel are men, so statistically, there will be thousands experiencing abuse. However, issues around masculinity add additional barriers to disclosure and reporting, especially when living in service accommodation tied to the job.

As family lawyers in Reading, we are within just a few miles’ drive of major military bases and accommodation. If you are in the military and need advice and help, call for an appointment now at our discreet countryside offices.


Coercive control of men – spot the signs

Coercive control is as much of an issue as physical abuse. There have been few studies on the differences between men and women doing the controlling, but female coercive control often includes:

  • Constant criticism
  • Denigrating behaviour and language
  • Jealousy
  • High degree if manipulation
  • Manipulated contraception
  • Legal and administrative aggression

Coercive control over men may emerge as:

  • Restrictions on his personal freedom
  • Telephone and message monitoring
  • Manipulation of social network
  • Alienation from his friends and family
  • Verbal abuse
  • Sexual taunts and insults
  • Jealousy and possessiveness
  • False allegations against men in powerful and high profile jobs
  • Threats to damage their reputation outside of work
  • Gaslighting and isolation
  • Suggesting older men 60+ have dementia
  • Financial abuse
  • Stalking

Coercive control and abuse can present as endless custody disputes, delay in proceedings, parental alienation, and result in financial abuse by litigation pressure. If you feel this applies to you, call us. We offer a free 30-minute consultation in our private office in central Reading or our discreet countryside location in Swallowfield. Call us in complete confidence.


Fear of losing everything

Many male victims of domestic violence don't speak out because of their fear of losing everything: access to their kids, their home and their relationship. As experienced family lawyers, we have helped men separate from abusive and non-abusive wives and same-sex partners and protected their interests in terms of children, home and finances.


How LGFL can help you

At LGFL, we have over a decade of experience and success in cases involving domestic violence, abuse and coercive control. Our approach is simple - we listen with empathy, give pragmatic advice and help you take the best action to exit an abusive relationship without losing what’s most precious to you.

No man should have to suffer domestic abuse in silence. Take the first step and call us on 01189 735521 for a review of your situation during a free 30-minute consultation for qualifying clients. Or fill in our request form here and we will make discreet contact to arrange a meeting.

Look out too for our future articles on:

  • Parental alienation
  • Adverse childhood experiences (ACE)

and their impact in a family law context.

(1) Findings from Professor Nicola Graham-Kevan