Background: Domestic violence and abuse is a violation of human rights which damages the health and wellbeing of victims, their families and their friends. There has been less research on the experiences and support needs of male victims than those of women. Historically research on men's experiences has not focused on what constitutes effective, needs-led service provision. The aim of this paper was to conduct an integrated mixed methods synthesis of systematic review evidence on the topic of help-seeking by male victims of domestic violence and abuse.
Methods: An integrated mixed methods synthesis approach was taken to enhance our understanding of the complex phenomenon of help seeking by, and service provision to male victims. This process also identifies gaps in the evidence. Using previously identified systematic review data; mixed methods data from four primary-level service evaluation studies, along with expert and patient consultation were used to develop research propositions. Primary-level qualitative interview and survey data from 12 studies of men experiences were mapped onto the propositions to support them.
Results: Fourteen propositions were composed. Seven propositions were supported or at least partly supported by the qualitative data. These supported propositions were used to make recommendations for policy and practice particularly concerning service preferences of male victims. The remaining seven propositions were not specifically supported by the qualitative data. These unsupported propositions were used to develop research recommendations concerning the need to further understand the potential blurred boundaries of victim-perpetrator, hybrid perpetrator-victim experiences, men who are/have been victims of childhood sexual abuse and determining the level of risk for men. They also highlight the need to produce better guidance for the response of the police & the criminal justice system. Finally, they highlight the need to produce the most appropriate service for men in terms of access, linkage, substance/alcohol abuse, mental health, sexuality, and race.
Conclusion: Integrated mixed-methods synthesis of systematic review evidence is a relatively novel approach. This approach can lead to recommendations for policy and practice as well as highlighting gaps in the research agenda as shown in this example.
Keywords: Domestic violence; Help seeking; Male victims; Mixed methods; Systematic review evidence.