Dr Elizabeth Bates

New domestic abuse research seeks older male perspective

An academic instrumental in raising awareness of male domestic abuse is conducting new research that focuses on older males who, according to initial findings, may experience abuse unique to their age.

Dr Liz Bates of the University of Cumbria is best known for poignant research that shone a light on the previously little-known issue of female perpetrated male domestic violence.  

This research  made her realise that there was potentially a group of older male abuse victims whose experiences had not been documented until now. 

From a small sample previously collected, victims relayed experiences typical of domestic abuse, such as coercive control and physical aggression, however they also reported abuse unique to their older age.

It’s these experiences Liz and her colleagues, Dr Nikki Carthy of Teeside University and Dr Nicoletta Policek from the University of Cumbria, want to explore further. 

Dr Liz Bates said: “A lot of research has focused on working with younger samples and research typically centres on female experiences. 

“With my colleague, I extracted data of older males from previous research and we noticed that there were very similar experiences around coercive control and physical aggression that younger males reported but there were also specific experiences that appeared unique to their age. 

“One man talked about the fact his wife had tried to convince him that he had Alzheimer's so he would sign-over power of attorney to her. 

“Similarly, there was manipulation around finances like pensions and also around the relationship these men had with their children. Men reported that their partners were stopping them from seeing their adult children.” 

Historically, domestic violence has been perceived as committed by men against women and public support services were structured to support this notion. 

However, awareness that domestic abuse can literally happen to anyone is rising and because of that Liz is undertaking this new research to raise awareness further and offer support to all who need it. 

She continued: “As we have an ageing population it’s really important that we look at the experiences of older adults and inform service provision to make sure that support is available and tailored to their needs.”   

Liz has only a small sample on which to base recommendations and so is inviting males aged over 60 to be part of a qualitative study. 

Participants can choose to either fill out an anonymous online questionnaire or if they prefer, they can opt for an interview.  

News of this new study comes as the Government plans to revive the Domestic Abuse Bill with its first reading in Parliament this week.

The bill includes plans to introduce lie detectors for high risk abusers and enhanced measures to protect children of abuse victims.

In light of this, Liz recently filmed a documentary on male domestic abuse for Channel 5. 

The as yet unnamed programme is due to air in March and features an extended interview with Liz about her research and work with male domestic abuse charity, Mankind. 

This is not Liz’s first taste of TV as she has featured on programmes such as Inside Out and Channel 4 News, talking about her psychological research in this area of domestic abuse. 

In the coming months, Liz and her colleague, Dr Julie Taylor, are hosting a conference called Abuse, Violence and Trauma at the University of Cumbria Fusehill Street campus on Thursday 21 May 2020.  

The event will be open to professionals and practitioners, students, members of the public and researchers.  

Tickets can be booked online

Liz has also secured a slot running the Great North Run in aid of male domestic abuse charity, Mankind. 


Notes to editors

Link to survey - https://cumbria.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/older-mens-experiences-of-aggression-and-control-from-fem

VIDEO and pictured: Dr Liz Bates explains her new research