Meet your new board
We’re pleased to be able to introduce you to our new board of trustees at SurvivorsUK!
Some of our trustees will be familiar to you if you’ve been following us for a while, while others are welcome new additions. All of our trustees bring something different to SurvivorsUK, helping to guide our organisation with their expertise and ensure we are delivering the best services that meet the needs of male and gender nonconforming survivors of sexual violence.
Without further ado…
Jemma Ansell manages the University of Warwick’s disclosure platform, Report and Support, for all members of the Warwick community affected by Sexual Violence, Discrimination, Hate Crime and Bullying.
Previously a Trustee for Warwick Students’ Union as the Welfare and Campaigns Student Officer 2018/19, she is a qualified Independent Sexual Violence Advisor and sits on several RASSO and VAWG scrutiny panels for both Warwickshire and West Midlands Police forces.
One of only two individuals in Europe qualified to facilitate the world’s only evidence-based sexual violence resistance programme and currently developing Warwick’s first Masculinity Project, prevention education is equally as important to Jemma as intervention and support.
“Whilst I work one-to-one with survivors of sexual violence in my full-time role, I wanted to contribute more widely on an organisational and national scale,” says Jemma.
“Having signposted clients to Survivors UK and seen first-hand the amazing work you do; I knew I wanted to apply for the role the moment I spotted it. An array of societal wide barriers still exists for male and non-binary survivors of sexual violence, and whether it’s providing direct support, raising awareness or working to break down these barriers, the work of Survivors UK is groundbreakingly necessary and an organisation I hope to support with a survivor-led approach.”
Chair of the Board
Thom Crabbe joined SurvivorsUK in 2021 and has been chairing our board of trustees since October 2021. Thom’s background is in management roles in the public and voluntary sectors. He previously worked as a trustee for an organisation which supported twins and their families, and currently, he works for the RSPB using communications to maximise impact and influence. As Thom explains, “I am particularly interested in public policy, communications and advocacy, and change management.”
“I look forward to working with the very talented staff and trustee team to help move Survivors into its next phase, ensuring it is the best it can be for all its users and raising awareness of the issues we are tackling.”
Tahreen Dewan is a trade union organiser for UNISON, the public services union. She leads on bargaining, negotiations, campaigning, and strategic organising for a number of higher education employers. Her previous roles in UNISON were in the health sector. Tahreen has a degree in International Studies with Political Science (BA) from the University of Birmingham.
“I have wanted to get involved with a cause around sexual violence for many years and when I saw SurvivorsUK were looking for trustees, I jumped at the chance,” Tahreen says.
“I’m really impressed with the work SurvivorsUK have done to support male and non-binary survivors – I love the group work programme – and I think it’s really important to have women involved in challenging stigmas and spreading awareness that male survivors deserve the same level of care as anyone else. I am looking forward to bringing my skills as trade union organiser to help guide policies and ensure the staff at SurvivorsUK are being looked after while doing their wonderful work.”
Tanaka Mhishi joined the board at SurvivorsUK in 2021 and has been working with survivor organisations for a number of years. He was excited by the opportunity to join the board of SurvivorsUK after being impressed by the warmth and dedication that they had encountered from SurvivorsUK staff over the years.
“There’s a huge amount of passion and expertise at SurvivorsUK and I’m hoping that I can be a helpful eye in shaping and supporting it,” explains Tanaka, who is a writer and storyteller by trade. “The core of my work is a belief that well-told stories really can change the way we interact.”
Tanaka has made a lot of work focussing on the male survivor experience – including a stage play about his own experience in 2015. “Since then, I’ve worked with charities who support survivors in speaking to the media, as well as collaborating with major news organisations to help them understand the needs of male survivors and how to better represent us,” Tanaka adds.
Most recently, Tanaka published Sons and Others: On Loving Male Survivors, an insightful and accessible book which challenges misconceptions and misrepresentations of sexual violence against men across media and society and offers a new way of seeing and understanding these men in our lives, asking how the violence they experience affects us all.
In his own time, Tanaka likes to bake “far too much” and play Dungeons and Dragons – “I’m utterly abysmal, but it’s still fun”. They are most looking forward to digging into the important conversations being had at SurvivorsUK.
Samuel Peterson is joining the SurvivorsUK board from a 20+ year tenure in interactive entertainment. Prior to making and publishing video games at places like Midway Games, Activision Blizzard, and Google, they worked in non-profit in development and administration. Volunteering is an interest which took root from a young age when they first volunteered at a domestic and sexual violence shelter, and at other socio-political non-profits which served the LGBTQ+ community.
Samuel recently returned to their roots of working with non-profit organisations as a trustee for another charity focusing on the intersection between the LGBTQ+ and disabled communities. They hope to leverage their business acumen and network, along with their history with DEI initiatives, to the benefit of SurvivorsUK’s beneficiaries, employees and volunteers.
When not working or volunteering, Samuel enjoys creative writing, the arts, practicing yogic philosophy, gaming and spending time with their husband walking and giving lap to Maggie (a non-lap variant of the canine species), around whom their lives largely revolve.
For the better part of 17 years, David Raeburn has worked in senior leadership roles in numerous charities focusing on strategy, impact, governance, and programme delivery. He is passionate about access to justice, and supporting people with life-limiting conditions. David has been part of the SurvivorsUK board since 2021.
“In my work and volunteering I have always been drawn to organisations that support people to understand their rights, navigate the systems in which they find themselves and access the support that they need,” David explains, adding that they know the importance of proper support can have on a person’s life. David is most excited to work to “increase the support and impact we can have for men that have experienced sexual violence”.
Nerissa is an experienced Social Research professional working within the public and voluntary sectors. She worked in Central Government for almost nine years, initially at the Home Office specialising in violent crime research before joining the Cabinet Office where she went on to lead the Civil Society research unit as well as being the Department’s Head of Profession for Government Social Research.
In 2018 she decided to go freelance as an independent research and strategy consultant and has since worked with a broad range of clients on a range of projects, predominantly in the field of violence prevention.
“The impact of sexual violence is far reaching and can be devastating, having safe spaces that survivors can go to access support is essential,” says Nerissa.
“I was keen to join the SurvivorsUK board as I was really impressed by the work they are doing as one of a relatively small number of organisations that specialise in providing that safe space for men, boys and non-binary people”