Current UK government statistics show that 1 in 3 victims of domestic abuse is a man. Yet the provision for helping men to recover from the devastating effects of partner violence is extremely lacking. Even when there is a place to go (which is rare) - the service is based on those provided for women. This stops men seeking help and leaves them more isolated and even blamed for their 'toxic masculinity'.
We are a group of academics with research specialisms in male victims of domestic abuse, recovery from abuse and nature based therapeutic tools. We believe that men and masculinity are NOT toxic. We believe that there is need to adapt the services available to men and what they require.
We have achieved ethical clearance to conduct a 12 week pilot study in the Lake District UK. The study will examine the theory that a group of men that have been victims of partner violence/domestic abuse, and are suffering from such negative effects as anxiety, depress and PTSD, are best placed to help each other on their path of recovery by using; social support, peer mentoring and the benefits of nature.
The study will consist of a series 4 walks in the Lake District. The first will be an introduction to mountain hiking where the participants will be shown how to navigate and map read before starting their introductory walk - to ensure everyone is at a comfortable skill level for the programme. Concluding with scaling Scarfell Pike - Englands highest mountain.
Along side psychological questionnaires, the men will be given FitBits to wear throughout the study to monitor changes in their heart rates and sleeping patterns. As typically these biometrics are effected in people suffering from anxiety, depression and PTSD. We will also ask that the men keep diaries of their experiences, as well as taking photographs that will help guide our interviews with them following the final walk.
Our aim is to enable men to engage with others that have experienced the same trauma, and 'get it" when it comes to understanding how they feel. That they can recover while supporting one another, learning news skills and reaping the mental health benefits from being out in nature. Our hope is that once the study is complete the group will continue to support one another and meeting up to walk in the outdoors.
As there is no official provision for male victims of domestic abuse, and grants in the field are rare - we have taken the decision to find funding outside of academia. This allows us to fund in the best way possible for the study and the participants. The funds raised will be spent on the Fitbits and the qualified outdoor instructor, and other expenses such as printing and sundries. Donations will be managed directly by me (Deborah Powney) and receipts will be kept as a matter of course. Any excess funding will either be used to expand the study or to get the results out in the public arena and in front of policy makers.
If you donate to the study not only will you be directly contributing to the research of male victims of abuse, you will be listed as a contributor in our research release and kept up to date with our progress. Men are not given enough provision in this area and with your help we can change this.
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