STAFF behind a new service supporting male victims of domestic abuse hope its official launch will help it reach even more people.

Bradford Cyrenians started running Men Standing Up (MSU) last September following a £234,000 lottery grant and has also received £135,000 from The Henry Smith charity.

In December its helpline went live and, although it is so far only open part-time, it has already received 63 calls.

"Considering we only started in December, that's a huge amount when considering it must be really hard for men to pick up the phone," said MSU service manager Humayun Islam.

It is hoped that publicity surrounding the organisation will boost calls further.

"It's about men coming forward and not suffering in silence and understanding a need for this service and we believe it happens to men," Mr Islam said.

MSU has also had 47 referrals from organisations such as the police and is working with 14 victims at the moment. It has 12 emergency beds for men and in May a new service, Crash Pad, will provide an extra two. It also helps with legal, benefits and access advice.

Mr Islam said a wide range of people had been helped.

"We've had young people come through, somebody of 84 coming through and people of white and South Asian backgrounds," he said.

But he said the scale of need had not surprised him as Bradford Cyrenians' director Rubina Bokhari had been working on the plan for four years.

The Cyrenians works with homeless people and found that many men had nowhere to live as a result of domestic abuse.

Ean Monk, the head of service at Bradford Cyrenians, said over 18 months it dealt with 12 men who were homeless because of domestic abuse.

"And that's just the men that are admitting it," he said.

Mr Islam said there was a genuine difficulty in getting men to speak about their situation.

"Even with men coming through now, even when we've spoken to them they sometimes keep a lot of it bottled up because they think 'what's going on for them'," he said.

Yesterday MSU held an event at the Carlisle Business Centre in Manningham with speakers and stands from groups such as the NHS, police and Bradford District Safeguarding.

The honorary patron of male domestic abuse charity Mankind Initiative, Ian McNichol, opened the event, talking about his own horrific experiences including a violent hammer attack and burns from cigarettes and an iron inflicted by a former partner.

He also shared figures which show that in the first six months of 2014, 1,657 women reported domestic abuse to police in Bradford, compared to 270 men.

MSU is looking for volunteers, who would receive training, to help staff its helpline. Anyone wanting to get involved should contact 01274 214631.


ROBIN was one of the first people to benefit from Men Standing Up.

He was desperate to leave his abusive wife when he found out about the service around September time last year, just at it was starting, thorough a Telegraph & Argus story on Bradford Cyrenians' website.

He had been offered some support in Leeds, but there was no rehoming help available.

"I thought there must be something else out there, there's got to be some kind of housing, " the 41-year-old said.

His wife was withholding money, meaning he did not even have the bus fare to get to Bradford to speak to MSU staff, who instead visited him.

"They said we can help you and we've got housing. At the time that was a huge relief because I was in a pretty horrible situation. I was stuck and this was the best way to get out of this situation," he said.

Robin now has a home and said his situation was much better.

"I've got a nice flat and it's just like that pressure has come off," he said.

"They've been a lifeline to me and that's why I'm here today to support them, they helped me get out of there and they helped with housing."

Another man to have received support said he went through a women's domestic abuse service to find out about MSU, again in its early stages.

The 57-year-old, who also did not want to be identified, has suffered ordeals including his wife pulling a knife on him and making false reports to police. He has not seen his daughters since August.

"I didn't have anywhere to get away from it. I just used to hide in my garage," he said.

"They [MSU] gave support straight away."