The report by MBARC commissioned by the London Mayor is a wake-up call for society and services throughout London. It highlights the paucity of provision of services for adult men who have been raped or sexually abused either in childhood or subsequently.
Around one third of both female and male victims have a pre-existing mental health issues. Severe mental illness increases the risk of assault for men by ten times. Increased vulnerability with more than 50% of men involved in the sex industry suffering assaults and for gay men there are particular vulnerabilities in relation to chemsex and this further exacerbates the considerable barriers to both reporting and proceeding through the CJS or accessing other support faced by men. Yet this is against a background of local authorities spending less than 1% of their health budgets on mental health – and the amount is going down each year (investigation by Mind). One in four people will experience a mental health problem every year – and the risks are greatly enhanced for those adult men who have been sexually abused.
“Where is the necessary long-term therapy and emotional support to come from?” asked Keith Best Chief Executive of Survivors UK. A failure to offer necessary help to adult male survivors represents not only a personal tragedy but also an enormous potential cost to society. Mind estimates that poor mental health costs at least £105 billion a year.
Keith Best continued “We welcome mention of SurvivorsUK working with male victims and the comment “Whilst demand exceeds supply for all services, services targeting specific equalities groups report particular pressure due to lack of resources.“ Also, we welcome the acknowledgement that “Adult survivors may already be extensive users of services, in particular health services, even without disclosure. However, there are few dedicated statutory services addressing these needs in a consistent way.”
“So where is the help going to come from for adult male survivors?” said Keith Best. “There are 350 ex-football players who have come forward so far and there may be many more but where is the financial commitment from the Football Association or the clubs involved to ensure that those who were abused are given the appropriate emotional support and counselling? It is time for them to put their money where their mouth is. A 12 week course of counselling can cost less than £1,000 but can bring enormous benefits.
“We have seen that Lambeth Council is making available up to £60m for the former residents of Shirley Oaks children’s home after sexual abuse on an “industrial scale” – it is now time for the football clubs to accept responsibility in the same way and to offer practical help to the survivors rather than just fine words.”
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Keith Best – Chief Executive
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