Updated: Thursday, 18th September 2014 @ 5:33am

Break the silence: Manchester male sexual abuse centre slams decision to exclude men from Rape Support Fund

Break the silence: Manchester male sexual abuse centre slams decision to exclude men from Rape Support Fund

By Danielle Wainwright

A controversial decision to exclude male rape victims from a government support fund has been slammed by a Manchester sexual abuse organisation.

Survivors Manchester, a service which supports men and boys who have suffered sexual abuse, received a letter stating that the Rape Support Fund would only be allocated to women and girls over the age of 13.

The service is the only support centre for male victims of sexual abuse in Manchester and is only one in five across the UK as they received 48% more referrals from last year after the high profile arrests of several famous figures.

The letter explained that the fund was for ‘rape support services whose primary purpose is to provide direct support to victims of rape and other forms of sexual assault, including both recent and historic abuse,’ but only for women over the age of 13.

Duncan Craig, Service Director at Survivors, said: “Due to the fact that the beneficiaries of our service are males we are ineligible to apply for much needed funds. Should the service have had female only beneficiaries, we would have been eligible.

“What message does this send out to boys and men suffering in silence? Does it give the message that government doesn't care about them?

“We're told that our service users feel let down by this decision, our team feels let down by this decision, I feel let down by this decision, especially as we have spent so much time and effort trying to educate policy and decision makers into not negating boys and men.

The organisation does not receive any government or local authority funding and solely survive on generous public donations.

They also receive £5,000 per year from Zurich Insurance but this funding is due to end next year.

In 2012, Survivors received a £50,000 boost from NHS Manchester, as a non-recurrent fund to help meet the demand, re-open our helpline and develop their services. 

Sue Berelowitz, Deputy Children’s Commissioner from the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, stated: “Survivor’s work made a significant impression on us and brought home the importance of providing targeted services for males who are victims of sexual violence.

“I believe they have succeeded in gathering evidence about the prevalence of sexual violence against males that is otherwise largely hidden in addition to delivering a much needed resource for what is so often a hidden group of victims.”

Mr Craig added: “Every male that walks through our door is someone’s son, possibly someone’s brother, maybe someone’s dad, and certainly someone’s friend.

“More than seven years ago when I needed support in Manchester, there was no one there... so I decided to make a change in our fantastic borough and create a gold standard support service.

“I hope that the next time a boy wants help, we are still here. If it were my son, my brother or my dad, I wouldn’t want them to suffer in silence. I know you wouldn’t want your male loved ones either.”

Survivor’s have now written to MP's across Greater Manchester for their support of male victims and to help challenge the Ministry of Justice’s decision.

Currently, only four of 33 MP’s have responded and the organisation is appealing to residents in Manchester to contact their MP asking them to support male survivors.

For more information on the work Survivors Manchester does, please click here.

Picture courtesy of Great Beyond via Flickr, with thanks.

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