How men and boys can help stop family violence

Family violence has often been viewed as a "women's issue" overlooking the fact that men are responsible for the vast majority of violence. For example, men committed 98% of the incidents of intimate partner violence against women in 2013 in Canada. Patterns of male violence against women can be passed from one generation to another. Studies suggest that boys who are abused may be more likely to become abusers, particularly if the abuse continues into the teenage years.

What men can do to stop family violence

Start a conversation. Speak out against violence against women—with your friends, colleagues, and family members

Volunteer or donate to a local organization that provides anti-violence services

Join other voices, such as the White Ribbon Campaign or the Bystander Movement

Why don't more men speak out against family violence?

Men have a variety of reasons for not becoming involved:

  • don't see a role for themselves, or know what to do
  • feel that they're being blamed for the problem
  • are uncomfortable with the topic
  • worry about what other men will think
  • just never been asked

Men who have been victims of violence as boys themselves may find it painful to talk about family violence, or may feel ashamed.

Men and boys need to be part of the solution

Men play important roles as fathers, mentors, and role models. Although most men do not condone violence, not enough men help to stop it.

5 ways to raise boys who respect women and girls

Men can lead the way by teaching younger men and boys about healthy, safe, and respectful relationships:

  1. Model respectful relationships, particularly with women.
  2. Challenge men and boys when they use degrading language to talk about women.
  3. Teach boys how to respect everyone, including their families, teachers and classmates, friends, teammates and opponents.
  4. Help find heroes and role models who respect women.
  5. Make sure that young men know that sexual assault is always wrong.

How men can learn about family violence

There are many ways to become informed:

  • It's important to know the facts, including the types of family violence, how common it is, and how it affects people's lives.  
  • Hearing personal stories of women and men who have experienced family violence can be a powerful tool to help men understand and reflect on the causes and impact of abuse. It's time to break the silence by talking about and listening to stories of family violence.

Find further information on engaging men and boys.


Statistics Canada. (2013). Measuring violence against women: Statistical trends

Franklin, C. A. and Kercher, G. A. (2012). The intergenerational transmission of intimate partner violence: Differentiating correlates in a random community sample. Journal of Family Violence, 27: 187-199.

Thornberry, T. P. and Henry, K. L. (2013). Intergenerational continuity in maltreatment. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 41: 555-569.

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