Ms Ryan said that regarding the trend of women “using” the child as leverage to threaten their partner into staying in the relationship is “100 per cent quite common”.
“Family courts, particularly where children are involved, are quite renowned with supporting women, and I think women know that and use it and know that their children are a hard-hitting point – yet that’s manipulation”.
She said that financial control, manipulation and checking up on where partners are also common features in coercive control relationships.
“The male element is coming out and undoubtedly there are other males like this who have experienced this and they will start to come out, easy with new definition of coercive behaviour.”
The research also found that amongst those who said they had experienced bullying or abusive behaviour, nearly half of men (48 per cent) said they did nothing about it – significantly higher than the figure for women (33 per cent).
In contrast, women were much more likely to say they had ended the relationship (37 per cent) compared with only 16 per cent of men experiencing issues.
Jane Wilson, a solicitor advocate at Hall Smith Whittingham who specialises in domestic abuse cases, said: “I think it’s good that males feel able to come forward now and talk about their abusive experiences. I suppose we have seen more women coming forward alleging abuse than men but we do see more and more men coming forward with allegations.”
Laura Guillon, senior associate at Hall Brown solicitors, added that fathers are often concerned about access to children during or following the breakdown of a relationship.
“I think it’s something that couples know will hurt the other one, and it’s certainly a threat. It’s becoming more acceptable for men to be able top express their feelings compared to ten years ago.”