More than £1 million is being provided to specialist rape support organisations across England and Wales as part of the first ever fund to help male victims of rape and sexual violence.
Approximately 75,000 men are victims of sexual assault or attempted assault a year according to data from 2012/13 while 9,000 men are victims of rape or attempted rape each year according to figures released in 2013, yet police figures show fewer than 3,000 offences of male rape or sexual assault were recorded in 2013/14.
The Male Rape Support Fund was created by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to help tackle the taboo that surrounds male victims of sexual violence and encourage them to seek help. We also hope this will encourage more male victims to report the crime and bring their offender to justice. It will help increase male victims’ access to crucial information, myth busting and emotional support – either in person, or online if they find that more accessible.
Twelve organisations have been successful in securing funding totalling more than £600,000 over 2 years to provide face-to-face support at centres across England and Wales, increasing the availability of advice and counselling for men who may not previously have been able to find help.
A further £400,000 over 2 years will be given to Survivors UK to help them create the first national website and online support service specifically tailored to help men who have suffered rape or sexual abuse and ensure that no matter where they live they will be able to access help anonymously and at a time that suits them.
Victims Minister Mike Penning said. “Latest estimates show that more than 1 in 10 victims of rape or attempted rape every year are men. Yet few come to forward to report it or seek help. I want to change that – it’s vital these victims are helped to cope and hopefully recover from what is a hugely traumatic crime.
“Creating a fund specifically for male victims will encourage them to break the silence on a topic still seen as taboo, as well as help those organisations already doing excellent work to increase the availability of that support so any man can get help wherever he is in England or Wales.”
The website will provide clear information specific to male victims, carers and professionals, and include statistics, a “myth-busting” section, short films discussing some of the issues and a series of animated client stories.
A safe online community will also be created for men to talk about their experiences and recovery, as well as space for survivors to blog about their experiences and how they have coped. There will be a web-chat service to provide online emotional support, a text-chat service, access to phone counselling and signposting to national counselling services.
The Male Rape Support Fund is part of MOJ’s campaign to Break the Silence around male rape and sexual violence, launched earlier this year. This was supported by Channel 4’s Hollyoaks which was the first British soap to feature the issue of male rape in a storyline.
This fund sits alongside our funding for Female Rape Support services which were the subject of a coalition pledge. This commitment to creating 15 new female rape support centres was met this year – and more than £4 million has been provided each year to Female Rape Support Centres since 2010.