HTV -- Welsh Television
14 December, 2001

Male domestic violence.

The drop in centre.

Christmas is a flashpoint period for domestic violence. This year though there is an unusual warning from the experts. They say across Wales, more men than ever before are becoming victims of domestic abuse.

Thousands of victims of abuse have been through the doors of the Montgomery Crisis Centre. Most are women. But the numbers of men who suffer both physical and emotional abuse in Wales is rising - to a critical point.

"Five years ago, we had a man come through our doors with all his teeth knocked out and we realised that there was a need to cater for male victims as well," said Ceri Pelling, of the centre.

She says every town and village in Wales has at least one man who needs their help. The nearest refuge for male victims is in London, but they are trying to set one up closer to home.

"The abuse is mainly emotional abuse, but we are getting kicking, punching, scratching, cat fighting, etc, and the emotional abuse is harder to deal with than the physical because it just keeps going on," she said.

Women still make by far the biggest demands on the service, however. One of their clients is a mother of one from Mid Wales, who endured eleven years of abuse from her husband.

"Christmas was the most difficult time of all, certainly it didn't bring me and him together. It was even worse. More drinking and beatings. More abuse, emotional and physical," she said.

"'Finally I decided it just wasn't right, I needed help. Seeing complete strangers made me feel sick when they were happy. I just couldn't do it because I'd never been happy, and I always believed that I deserved what I got because he made me believe it," she said.

The basic message to anyone - you do not have to suffer, and you are not alone. Call the Montgomeryshire Family Crisis Centre's 24 hour helpline on (01686) 629 114.