One in six people who report domestic abuse in West Yorkshire are men, new figures show.
Domestic abuse charity the ManKind Initiative described the numbers as “shocking but welcome”, saying they show that men feel increasingly able to come forward and report abuse.
A freedom of information request submitted by the charity showed that 4,166 men reported being a victim of domestic abuse to West Yorkshire Police in 2017.
In total, 23,333 domestic abuse cases were reported to police, with men the victims in 18% of them.
It is nearly treble the number of men who reported as victims of domestic abuse in 2012, when they represented 13% of cases. Over the same period, the total number of domestic abuse reports increased by 97%.
While domestic abuse can be violent, the definition can include any controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour. It includes psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse.
Across the 41 of England and Wales's 43 police forces who provided numbers for 2017, 159,000 men reported being victims of domestic abuse – one in every four cases.
Mark Brooks, chairman of the ManKind Initiative, said: “These figures are both shocking yet welcome. They show the level of domestic abuse against men and the growing confidence they have in coming forward.
“Friends, family and work colleagues are also playing a key part in supporting them and many police forces are actively encouraging men to report.
“These figures should act as a spur for even more men to reach out, as many feel they are the only man in the world this has ever happened to and they suffer in silence behind their front door. They now know they are not alone.”
The charity believes there needs to be more done to fund and support domestic abuse services, for both male and female victims. But with just 20 of the country’s 3,600 refuge beds reserved for men – 0.8% of the total stock – they feel assumptions about domestic abuse are still to be broken down.
Mr Brooks continued: “Society as a whole is taking a more modern and inclusive view of domestic abuse – increasingly realising that domestic abuse is a crime against women and men in heterosexual and same-sex relationships.
“More always needs to be done to challenge stereotypes as we still see some people not taking domestic abuse as seriously as they should when a man is a victim, but we are moving in the right direction.”