A DEDICATED male support worker for male victims is now helping men suffering from domestic abuse in Worcestershire.

The county is leading the way by offering male victims access to Marc Linton, Worcestershire's dedicated male worker.

Other counties, including Shropshire, Herefordshire, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire, do not have such a male service.

The Worcestershire service is also unique in offering a male support programme which allows the men to get together with other victims and discuss their issues.

Mr Linton described the programme as "extremely powerful."

He said: "Males often feel isolated by their ordeal, often feeling too ashamed to talk about this with their friends and family." Mr Linton, who works with West Mercia Women's Aid and Rooftop Housing Group, offers a variety of support to male victims in Worcestershire who have suffered all kinds of abuse whether it be physical, emotional, psychological, financial or sexual.

He said: "A lot of the men have been in relationships where the abuser has ridiculed and humiliated them which has severely impacted their confidence and self-worth." Mr Linton has been told by many of his clients that without his help they wouldn’t be here today.

The male suicide rate is disproportionately large and it’s believed to be, in part, down to domestic abuse.

The many types of support offered to victims include help with safe guarding, housing or child contact issues, and emotional support, helping victims talk through their options.

A male helpline will be launched soon. In the meantime men wishing to seek support can contact the Worcestershire domestic abuse helpline on 0800 980 3331.

Case Study: Tom's story

Marc Linton said: "I received a referral for Tom in January 2017 from his Swanswell drugs worker as she was very concerned about his welfare. At this point in time Tom was still living with his partner. He had limited mobility and his partner was hitting him and threatening him with a knife.

"I completed a support assessment which highlighted quite a few concerns. Tom, at the time, still wished to remain in the relationship but I give him very clear guidelines in regard to what to do if his partner became aggressive again towards him. This advice, as it turned out, was used the next weekend when Tom rang the police as he was being threatened. His partner was arrested and taken away, later to be bailed but never to return to his flat.

"Once the safe-guarding issues were resolved, there was several other issues which I assisted Tom with. Due to his now ex-partner leaving the flat it became clear that his rent and his council tax hadn’t been paid for a period as his ex was in receipt of Universal Credit and she had received the money but hadn’t paid it to the housing provider or to the local authority. I ascertained how much he was in debt by and helped Tom to set up repayment plans to address the debt.

"Tom’s health condition got worse. He had to have further operations on his back which resulted in him being bed-ridden. He couldn’t move from the sofa without the assistance of others. He had day care come into his flat twice a day to ensure he had a wash, could go to the toilet and eat.

"His flat was unsuitable for his needs so I liaised with his housing provider and the local Occupational Therapy team to see if his flat could be adapted to his needs. This proved difficult and so he waited until a suitable property was available. This has just been arranged and he will be moving into a new home shortly fully set up for his needs.

"I also assisted Tom with his benefits and helped him to apply for PIP, Personal Independence Payments."

"Tom has been extremely thankful of all the assistance and engaged well with our service."