Outreach Officer Nikki has been the driving force behind a campaign to reach out to men and highlight the support services that are available. To get the message out there, Nikki visited Burnham FC and spoke with the club’s Marketing Director Paul Butler about the initiative, its aims, and challenges.
Nikki said: “We’ve got a new division in Buckinghamshire, we’re reaching out across the county to harder to reach communities, predominantly Gypsy Romani Travellers, LGBTQ+ and widely our male clients, who we feel are being lost along the way, not coming forward or maybe don’t know those avenues to go down.
“We offer advocacy and outreach work, so once we have a client, we are with them every step of the way, whether it’s fleeing domestic abuse or going into places of safety.”
The campaign aims to target football and rugby clubs in the area, and Nikki has been unapologetic about using these so-called stereotypical spaces to reach out to men, as they are often male-dominated, and areas where men feel most comfortable.
Sadly, it is estimated that one-in-six men, and one-in-four women will be a victim of domestic abuse in their lifetime, according to the Office for National Statistics. Domestic abuse is any incident of threatening behaviour, violence, or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial, or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.
Nikki explains that we want to raise awareness about the help that is out there for men, she also highlighted the types of abuse that can occur, including financial.
She said: “We want men to come forward, anybody that is experiencing domestic abuse, it might be financial abuse where they’re allowed no control over their salary. For a lot of our clients, that’s the main abuse that they experience.
“They are not allowed their wages, which are paid into an account that is completely monopolised, all the passwords are kept from them, they can’t do any online banking, they can’t use a card and they’re given pocket money to use.”
Nikki explains the signs of abuse can be difficult to identify and can often be blurred by cultural practices that are accepted in some parts of the world and not in others.
She said: “Talking things through can help prompt that whole ‘penny drop’ moment of ‘oh my goodness I’ve been in an abusive relationship’ and understanding what that looks like.”
If you or someone you know needs support or advice and live in the West Berkshire, Oxfordshire or Buckinghamshire regions you can contact the helpline on 0800 731 0055/ DAS@a2dominion.co.uk (10am-7pm Mon-Friday). Alternatively, call 999 in an emergency or the 24-hour national helpline on 0808 200 0247.