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Survivors Manchester April Newsletter

1 May 2013 - 15:14 by michelle.foster

Survivors Manchester exists to break the silence of the sexual abuse and rape of men in order to empower those affected to defeat the legacy of abuse to move towards positive futures.

Here is their April Newsletter

Five Hundred, Twenty-Five Thousand And Six Hundred Minutes
How do you measure a year?
With outcomes, outputs, successes and the silences' that are finally broken

Since our last email newsletter in December 2012, (yes, it has been quite a while and I'd really like to apologise for that, it wont happen again), we literally haven't stopped! Like many organisations across the UK who are working specifically in the field of sexual abuse and rape, we have been inundated with requests for support from individuals and their families; calls for advice from professionals in how to deal with disclosure; and requests from a variety of organisations (both statutory and third sector) asking for us to present one of our workshops to their staff teams'. This 'post-savile' era has severely streched our resources to the limit.

Much of the work has been sustained through the generosity of in-kind support from the fantastic and amazing Victim Support Manchester's Victim Care Unit, and the support of some amazing people who volunteered their time for free. Other parts of our work has been financially supported by Zurich UK via the Zurich Community Trust, through their Local Partnership Award programme, which has meant we can continue to service our online support and face to face support group work, along with a number of 1:1 therapy sessions. Not only has the financial contributuion made by Zurich Community Trust been vital in helping us through this time, but the 'back office' support has been invaluable, in fact its been a critical ingredient to our ongoing and growing success. The likes of Matt Hartigan, Nick Hoyle, Maggie Mikdee, Mark Heaseman and of course the fantatsic Amelia Sommerset have become part of the Survivors Manchester family and we're so proud to have them as relatives.

Thanks to Manchester Community Central, we were able to secure the use of a fantastic consultant in Sue Hennessey, who helped us build a small business case to present to, well quite frankly, whoever would listen. Sadly, that wasnt a lot of people. Seems that we still have a huge battle in getting authorities and decision makers to engage in conversation about the needs of boys and men who are victims of sexual abuse and rape, especially when talking about those that initially suffered over thirty years ago and continue to suffer today because no one has provided them with the right support.

But in the darkeness, a light did shine. Following the presentation of a business case, NHS in Manchester threw us a much needed lifeline by providing us with a non-recurrent funding grant that enabled us to actually stand a chance at meeting this overwhelming demand. The recognition and acknowledgement by the NHS locally has been a boost of confidence for us (along with making our service users feel valued by the health system) and showed that we are proving our dedication to support the sexual exploitation agenda, offering treatment and interventions to male survivors. This ethos has been fully embraced and embedded into our core offer to the survivor communities. We believe that the NHS commissioning of a 'user led charity' is a sign that the male survivor’s voice is finally being heard loud and clear and this is just the tip of the iceberg, as you will be seeing on the TV news and in national and local newspapers.

Access to counselling and psychotherapy has increased; the telephone support line reinstated following its closure; health and wellbeing activites aimed at breaking the isolation associated with poor mental health have been organised; and the team able to deliever all these activities and more has increased (see below). We have plans to further explore a range of opportunities for expansion and wider spread delivery of our service model, to reach more people and help break the silence that still exists for so many. Our ambition and aspiration is to be a key stakeholder in shaping and influencing the agenda both locally and nationally in responding to Child Sexual Exploitation and we intend continue to be leaders in the field, offering a wider range of services the in the future.

This ambition was recently begun to be realised when I was asked to meet with Sue Berelowitz, the Deputy Children's Commissioner for England and Chief Executive at the Office of the Children's Commissioner, to discuss the sexual abuse and rape of boys and young men in gangs. Following the meeting, I was overjoyed to receive a letter from the commissioner stating "your [Survivors Manchester] work made a significant impression on us and brought home the importance of providing targeted service for males who are victims of sexual violence", continuing "I believe you have succeeded in gathering evidence about the prevalence of sexual violence against males that is largely hidden". I have since been asked to attend a workshop in London on behalf of the commissioner to present thoughts and findings to key experts on this issue. This is such an honour and I intend to ensure that the voices of those boys and lads that have gone unheard for so long, are now heard!

We need to work together to ensure that we continue to fight against the sexual abuse, rape and sexual exploitation of children, young people and adults. We are so proud of our relationship with Greater Manchester Police, Manchester Rape Crisis, Victim Support and to be strategic partners with organisations such as St Marys Sexual Assault Refferal Centre.

Abuse happens in isolation... healing happens when we come together!

Thank you for all your continued support


Duncan Craig
Service Director


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