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Help-seeking by male victims of domestic violence and abuse (DVA): a systematic review and qualitative evidence synthesis
  1. Alyson L Huntley1,
  2. Lucy Potter1,
  3. Emma Williamson2,
  4. Alice Malpass1,
  5. Eszter Szilassy1,
  6. Gene Feder1
  1. 1 Centre for Academic Primary Care, Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  2. 2 School for Social Policy, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alyson L Huntley; alyson.huntley{at}bristol.ac.uk

Abstract

Objectives To understand help-seeking by male victims of domestic violence and abuse (DVA) and their experiences of support services by systematically identifying qualitative and mixed-method studies and thematically synthesising their findings.

Design Systematic review and qualitative evidence synthesis. Searches were conducted in 12 databases and the grey literature with no language or date restrictions. Quality appraisal of the studies was carried out using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool. Reviewers extracted first and second order constructs related to help-seeking, identified themes and combined them by interpretative thematic synthesis.

Setting DVA experienced by male victims and defined as any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse among people aged 18 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.

Participants Male victims of DVA.

Interventions Any intervention which provides practical and/or psychological support to male victims of DVA including but not limited to DVA-specific services, primary healthcare and sexual health clinics.

Primary and secondary outcome measures Qualitative data describing help-seeking experiences and interactions with support services of male victims of domestic violence

Results We included twelve studies which were published between 2006 and 2017. We grouped nine themes described over two phases (a) barriers to help-seeking: fear of disclosure, challenge to masculinity, commitment to relationship, diminished confidence/despondency and invisibility/perception of services; and (b) experiences of interventions and support: initial contact, confidentiality, appropriate professional approaches and inappropriate professional approaches.

Conclusion The recent publication of the primary studies suggests a new interest in the needs of male DVA victims. We have confirmed previously identified barriers to help-seeking by male victims of DVA and provide new insight into barriers and facilitators to service provision.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42016039999.

  • systematic review
  • qualitative evidence synthesis
  • thematic synthesis
  • male/men
  • domestic violence and abuse
  • help-seeking

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Footnotes

  • Contributors ALH was involved in protocol development and led on both the systematic review and synthesis of data. She co-wrote the final paper with all the other authors. LP was involved in protocol development, screened references with ALH in the systematic review stage, was involved in the discussion of the data and qualitative synthesis and contributed to the final content of the paper. EW was involved in protocol development, discussion of the data, qualitative synthesis and contributed significantly to the final content of the paper. AM was involved in protocol development, the discussion of the data and advised on and was involved in the qualitative synthesis. She commented on the final content of the paper. ES was involved in protocol development, checked the initial screening of references in the first round and in the rerun of the search strategy, was involved in the discussion of the data and the qualitative synthesis, and contributed to the final content of the paper. GF was involved in protocol development, checked the initial screening of references in the first round, was involved in discussion of the data in the qualitative synthesis and contributed to the final content of the paper.

  • Funding This paper presents research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) as part of their Programme Development Grant for Applied Research (PGfAR) scheme (RP-PG-0614-20012).

  • Disclaimer The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Full data extraction and synthesis data are available from the authors.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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