35 Years of SurvivorsUK
October 2021 marks SurvivorsUK’s 35th birthday. Let’s take a look at our history and how far we’ve come.
SurvivorsUK was founded in 1986 by Martin Dockrell and Richie McMullen. In their work with other organisations, Martin as a helpline worker at Lesbian and Gay Switchboard and Richie as the Director of Streetwise, a charity for male sex workers, they had taken calls from male survivors of rape, and a lack of an appropriate service for these callers became apparent.
From this, the idea for SurvivorsUK was born.
Originating as a helpline service, SurvivorsUK became formally recognised as a charity in 1989. Later, in 1993 we began our in-person counselling service at Wharfside Clinic, St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington.
By 1996, 10 years after we were founded, we had established group counselling in Mile End, and our helpline was available three nights a week.
By 2000, we found a secure home as funding from the Department of Health allowed us to start The SurvivorsUK National Male Survivors Centre Project. Later in 2002, The National Male Survivors Centre opened in London Bridge.
Our 20th birthday marked a period of growth for SurvivorsUK, as a series of successful funding bids meant salaries were secured and the organisation could expand even further. By 25, we launched our first national awareness campaign that was seen by over 18 million people.
In 2013, we opened our offices in Shadwell, and in 2016, our 30th birthday, we officially opened our services to trans and non-binary clients.
In the five years since then, SurvivorsUK has grown tenfold. We now have over 35 staff members working relentlessly to provide survivors and their loved ones with the support they deserve.
In 2019, SurvivorsUK appointed its most recent CEO, Alex Feis-Bryce, who has further spread the organisation’s message by talking about his own experience of sexual violence.
In 2020, we moved our service online in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, and we said goodbye to our Shadwell offices. We continued to raise awareness about boy’s, men’s, and non-binary people’s experiences of sexual violence – including by advising on an Eastenders storyline about sexual abuse.
We also left our Shadwell offices in 2020 as part of our move to remote service provision in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, but we plan to open our new offices very soon.
In 2021, we’ve welcomed six new board members and published the first bit of research into the sexual violence experiences of gay and bisexual men.
Now, we offer a whole host of services for boys, men, and non-binary survivors. Our online helpline is open 7 days a week from 12 – 8pm, we have individual and groupwork counselling, support through the justice system, a legal clinic, a sexual health clinic, a national database of services, and more.
As we usher October in, we have many more exciting projects that we’re going to release – including an incredibly exciting surprise for all of you.
We’re so proud of SurvivorsUK and how far we’ve come over the last 35 years. It goes without saying that we wouldn’t be where we are today without all of you and all of your support – but we know we can do more. Our current waitlist for individual counselling is 15 months. It’s far too long, and the whole organisation is working as hard as possible to minimise the wait times, but as we’ve moved to scrap all counselling fees, we need some support with this.
Just £10 a month could enable 20 survivors a year to access a trauma-support workshop while on the waiting list for our core therapeutic work.
A one-off donation of £10 could support a survivor to access Clinic26, a place for men and nonbinary people to receive sexual health services in a safe and supportive environment – sexual health checkup.
A one-off donation of £50 could support a survivor to attend a 1:1 session of trauma-informed counselling.
Make a donation today and celebrate our 35th birthday with us.