SURVIVORSUK, the charity dedicated to supporting male survivors of rape and sexual abuse, is delighted to announce the launch of a new Ministry of Justice funded national website and emotional support service for male survivors – survivorsuk.wpengine.com – on 26th May 2015.

The 2013/14 Crime Survey for England and Wales estimates that there were approximately 116,000 male victims of any sexual assault in the last year[1]; while the survey also estimates that there are approximately 9,000 male victims of rape (including attempts) each year[2]. Police-recorded figures show fewer than 3,600 incidents of rape or sexual assault of a male were recorded by the police in 2014[3], approx. 1000 of which were incidents of rape of a male aged 16 or over[4], NSPCC July 2014 puts the total no of adult child abuse survivors in UK at 9,346,083[5]

There is little specialist support available to these men (only 4 male dedicated services nationally) and this support is concentrated in a few large urban centres.  These digital services will provide the first national opportunity for these men, and those who care for them, to receive information and free emotional support in the home or other safe environment.

The site will host a first of its kind national web and text chat service, available 7 days a week for at least 8 hours a day.  Emotional support through this service is available to raped and sexually abused men, their partners, carers and families and is provided by trained responders.  The site will also feature unique interactive peer support spaces; areas for male survivors to share their stories and creative works; and information useful to those who are dealing with a first disclosure of sexual violation.  Free interactive on-line training for professionals likely to get disclosures from male survivors will also be available.

This national portal will provide the most up to date information related to the rape and sexual abuse of men as well as a searchable database of organisations and individuals nationally who can support these men.

Michael May of SurvivorsUK says – “The rape and sexual abuse of men and boys remain challenging and under-discussed phenomena.  One of the biggest challenges faced by male survivors is society’s projection that men should be able to withstand and endure terrible circumstances.  From infancy males are told that they should strive to be resilient, self-sufficient, protectors, dominant in sexual interactions and able to defend themselves.  These are some of the common defining qualities that we impose on masculinity.  An experience of rape or sexual abuse contravenes all of these expectations.  In essence, it leaves the survivor feeling ‘less than a man’.

This funding has made it possible to create a national resource and avenue of support that will allow men from all over the UK to get desperately needed help.  I am particularly excited by the open spaces that will allow these men to communicate with and help each other and to finally break the isolation and separation that is one of the most common results of sexual violence.”

The new services will be promoted through an on-line poster advertising campaign “Victims Suffer. Survivors Speak” designed by advertising creatives Johnny Fearless.  The posters will both raise awareness of the value of talking as a means of recovery and encourage users to engage with the website and emotional support services.

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For more information on the national Male Survivors Website and Emotional Support Services contact:  Michael May, Director of Business Development on 020 3598 3898/07986 614 093 or [email protected]

For more information from the Ministry of Justice contact:  Rebecca Gough on 0203 334 3505 or  [email protected]

 

References

[1] Office for National Statistics, 2015. Focus on: Violent Crime and Sexual Offences, 2013/14 – Appendix Table 4.03

[2] Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Office for National Statistics. 2013. An Overview of Sexual Offending in England and Wales.

[3] Office for National Statistics. 2015. Crime in England and Wales, Year Ending December 2014. Appendix Table A4. This figure is created by combining the categories ‘Sexual assault on a male aged 13 and over’ (n=2,624) and ‘Rape of a male aged 16 or over’ (n=956)

[4] Office for National Statistics. 2015. Crime in England and Wales, Year Ending December 2014. Appendix Table A4.

[5] NSPCC July 2014 “Estimating the costs of child sexual abuse in the UK”

 

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WEBCHAT DIGITAL SUPPORT CASE STUDIES

SURVIVOR – AARON

Aaron contacted SurvivorsUK to discuss his experience of being sexually abused when he was a child. Flashbacks and nightmares relating to the abuse were severely affecting his mental health and wellbeing. Through discussion with the helpliner, Aaron came to realise that the recent death of his abuser may have contributed to these flashbacks and nightmares. Having never had a relationship due to difficulties with sexual intimacy and trust, Aaron also realised that meeting someone of interest to him recently had allowed these anxieties to surface again.

Together with the helpliner, Aaron was able to talk through some coping strategies to help with the flashbacks, nightmares and anxieties. He was also reassured that these difficulties can be normal for survivors of sexual abuse, and that help is available, including specialist local support for male survivors. Aaron said he had been surprised about how easy it had been to open up about his problems once he started, and was really pleased that there was someone to talk to, as it meant he no longer felt so stressed and alone.

(177 words)

SUPPORTER – ANNA

Anna contacted SurvivorsUK to discuss her relationship with her partner, as she was finding it very difficult to cope with his anger. He had been gang raped when he was younger, and she felt that he was carrying a lot of anger because of this. This led to communication difficulties within their relationship, and Anna was relieved to be able to discuss them openly and honestly for the first time.

Together with the helpliner, Anna was able to explore some of her and her partner’s options for support, both as a couple and individually. She said that her partner knew she was using the helpline, and that he might be willing to contact SurvivorsUK now that he knew what sort of service it offers. Anna also thought that couples counselling might be helpful to them, to explore the issues in the relationship with professional support. The helpliner advised her of local counselling services so that they could refer themselves when they were ready. Anna said that she had felt very stuck before using the helpline, but that she was now more hopeful about the future with her partner.

[188 words]

 

(Reproduced with the permission of the service users)

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