History of SurvivorsUK

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 had identified the lack of an appropriate service for these callers. From this, the idea for SurvivorsUK was born as a helpline service. Charitable and company status was attained in 1989.

In 1993 a Survivors Counselling Service was developed at Wharfside Clinic, St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington. In the following year a three year grant for core funding was received from the Department of Health. Between 1996 and 1999, the Survivors UK Helpline was open for three 3 evenings each week and groups were being run from the Globe Centre, Mile End. In 1998 a multi-agency group was formed with Metropolitan Police focusing on Adult Male Survivors of Sexual Assault.

1999 saw the launch of the SurvivorsUK National Male Rape Training Initiative Project started with funding from the Department of Health and the Community Fund. Core services were part-funded by the Lloyds TSB Foundation, and the Helpline moved from workers’ own homes into premises at the CABOT Centre, Kings Cross. A grant was received from the Charities Aid Foundation to develop a fundraising strategy, and employ a fundraiser.

In 2000 the SurvivorsUK National Male Survivors Centre Project began, securing a home for the organisation and funded by the Department of Health. Core funding was secured from the City Parochial Foundation & Esmee Fairbairn. Rent and running costs for the next two years of the National Male Survivors Centre Project was received from the Lloyds TSB Foundation and in 2002 the National Male Survivors Centre opened in London Bridge.

Over the following years the services delivered by the organisation grew quantitatively in a reactive manner and further funding was secured through a series of Section 64 grants from the Department of Health and trust funding from The City Parochial Foundation, Allen Lane Foundation and Lloyds TSB. The organisation remained in London Bridge and moved premises from Swan Court to Morrocco Street in 2006.

In 2006 SurvivorsUK received 3 years funding from the Big Lottery to secure the Operations Manager post and part fund the core costs of service delivery. The organisation was invited to participate on the Metropolitan Police Operation Sapphire Advisory Board and on the Home Office Stakeholders Advisory Panel for Rape and Sexual Crime. In 2007 further trust funding was secured from The Tudor Trust and The Rayne Foundation to secure the Clinical Services Manager post and cover a shortfall in core costs. Additional funding was secured from the Home Office Victims Fund.

In 2009 the organisation moved into its dedicated service centre in Holborn, central London. At the same time, 5 year funding from the Big Lottery Reaching Communities programme and a further 2 years funding from the Tudor Trust was won, securing the salary costs of the organisation. Additional funding from the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office have stabilized the charity’s finances and allowed for a program of strengthening and development to be instituted.

2011 marked the 25th anniversary of SurvivorsUK operations and the charity delivered a series of fundraising and awareness building events including a gala concert featuring Lesley Garrett, Ian Shaw, Meow Meow, The London Gay Men’s Chorus and many others. This in combination with a landmark art event and participation in several London running events raised in excess of £30,000 over the year.

In 2012 the charity went to market with “Real Men Get Raped”, an advertising campaign aimed at adult male rape victims. The campaign created a stir in the media and resulted in exposure to a potential audience of over 18,000,000.

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2013 saw SurvivorsUK on the move again, this time to new dedicated premises in Shadwell, E1.  This year also saw the launch of the digital emotional support services.

In 2014, SurvivorsUK was the primary beneficiary of the Ministry of Justice Male Rape funding stream which has allowed the organisation to create the National Male Survivors Website resource and to increase its national digital support offering to 72 hours per week.  The organisation has also appointed the first male specific Independent Sexual Violence Advisor for London and continues to broaden and deepen its partnership working to ensure that male survivors have the best opportunities to receive support for a broad cross spectrum of problems.


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