MALE victims of domestic abuse have been given a voice, thanks to a new charitable organisation run by an abuse survivor.

Swindon’s Voice For Men, run by counsellor Simon Taylor, aims to give abused males a chance to seek help in a non-threatening group environment.

Simon, along with partner Su Mills and colleague Michael Bizley launched Swindon VFM this week, complete with website and dedicated listening line in place to help those in need.

The group aims to meet once a month at a discreet location in the town.

And 49-year-old Simon said it was his own past experience of a toxic relationship that made him determined to help others.

“I’d always had an interest in this,” he said.

“I was both physically and mentally abused when in a relationship years ago and I know what that can do to men.”

“It can shatter self esteem, self-confidence, you can be made to feel worthless. Once I qualified as a counsellor in 2010 I knew I had to start working towards this.

“We are the only group in Swindon that focuses solely on men. All too often they can be the forgotten victims.”

Simon said the group aims to brush aside assumptions that in domestic violence cases it is only women that end up bruised and battered.

He said: “There’s this mentality that no one can harm men and sometimes people even laugh at the thought of a woman attacking a man.

“But it does happen. I’ve seen it happen, it’s real and it needs to stop.

“People think of domestic violence and there’s this preconception that it’s a man attacking a woman. But research showed that up to 40 per cent of domestic violence victims are male. We’re trying to help people save their lives.”

Simon said domestic violence comes in many different forms so men could be suffering abuse without realising it.

“What people don’t realise is that domestic abuse takes many different forms,” he said.

“It isn’t just about hitting people and being physically violent. It can be little things that destroy confidence and make a person feel worthless.

“If we can prevent this through this support group – whether it be physical, emotional or psychological – we are doing something right.”

Figures released by Swindon Borough Council in June showed that between April 2014 and March 2015, 20 male abuse victims were offered support. In the same period, eight male victims received help from Swindon Women’s Aid.

Lin Williams, domestic abuse lead for the Swindon Community Safety Partnership, said: “It is often difficult for victims to come forward and we welcome this new initiative which will offer male victims another opportunity to seek help.

“We’ll be getting in touch with the group to invite them to the Domestic Abuse Forum and also see how we can work together in future to provide support which best meets people’s needs.”

For more information on Swindon VFM visit the website

To speak with Simon, call or text 07791 804596 between 11am and 2pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.