BY SEAN DELANEY
The chairman of a charity which runs a helpline for male victims of domestic violence has been awarded an OBE in the New Year’s honours list 2019 for his efforts raising awareness and campaigning on behalf of thousands of victims.
Mark James Brooks, from Belvedere in Bexley, was named in the Queen’s honours list alongside such famous names as supermodel Twiggy and England football manager Gareth Southgate.
Mark, pictured, is the chairman of trustees for the ManKind Initiative, a charity which runs key services for male victims of domestic abuse, including a confidential helpline and training for public sector organisations, such as the police, local councils and the armed forces.
On receiving the award, Mark said: “Ten years ago, it would have been inconceivable that an honour would have been given to this cause.
It shows that the traditional old-fashioned view that domestic abuse is solely a crime with a female victim and a male perpetrator has changed.
“I would like to thank everyone who works and volunteers for the charity alongside those who make donations and hold fundraising events.
Without them, this would not have been possible and the honour is very much for them.”
The ManKind Initiative played a key role in flagging up issues with national domestic abuse policy, such as why there was no safe refuges for men with children. Mark has called for councils and housing associations to come to the aid of male victims who often had to travel more than 150 miles to receive help.
Mark Brooks told BBC 5 live that while more male victims were coming forward, a “failure to ensure a basic level of support across the country will fail those men and, of course, fail their children where they are involved.”
He said: “About one in four reports are from male victims, but very few end up being signposted and supported by specialist organisations and professionals.”
There were 414 calls to the police in Bexley by male victims reporting domestic violence between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017, according to data published by the Met last year.
This represented 23 per cent of all calls to the police relating to domestic violence.
In neighbouring borough, Greenwich, there was a similar trend, with 22 per cent of all calls reporting domestic violence coming from male victims.
The ManKind Initiative offers confidential help for male victims on 01823 334 244.