Voices of Men and Boys

Key findings report

In 2019, as part of our Safe Young Lives programme, we gathered the voices and perspectives of more than 1,000 men and boys aged 11 and over, asking them about abuse, masculinity and what a ‘healthy’ relationship looks like.

The aim was to

  • explore male attitudes, behaviours, experiences and expectations
  • understand the impact of societal and gendered norms in increasing the likelihood of male violence against women and girls​

Key findings

  • Men are willing to talk with friends and family about the other person’s abusive relationship, but less likely to want to talk about their own
  • A large proportion of men and boys feel that the prevalence and severity of domestic abuse is equal across genders
  • Trust is consistently considered the most important factor in a healthy relationship
  • One in five men (19%) didn’t know where to seek help if they or someone they knew were in an abusive relationship
  • The majority of men would consider going to a specialist domestic abuse service
  • Help-seeking differs with age, with young people more likely to tell family or relatives than anyone else
  • Over a quarter of respondents aged 16+ (28%) had used behaviour within a relationship that they regretted
  • One in twenty (5%) men who used behaviour within a relationship that they regretted said that it made them feel powerful
  • Most men who had used behaviour they regretted said this occurred in early relationships
  • Men believe that society tells us men should be tough, and that society’s view of masculinity can have a negative effect on the mental health of men and boys

I grew up with my stepdad abusing my mum and me plus my brother and sisters, I now have PTSD. I get really angry that I couldn’t stop him or help her but I do take my anger out on her too. I don’t want to be like him.


Further reading and research

Male survivors: findings

Research on male victim’s experiences in romantic relationships and help-seeking behaviours.

What does healthy look like?

Resources to help professionals have conversations with young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships

Survivor stories

Our survivor stories page is being updated; check back later for more information.