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West Yorkshire ISVA Service are very proud to announce it has achieved the Lime Culture Independent Accreditation Programme ‘Quality Mark’ for achieving the Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Victims /Survivors of Sexual Violence.

We are the first organisation and service in the country to achieve this accreditation and are proud to say Victim Supports specialist services are making huge differences throughout the North of England.

The Male Survivors Partnership alongside Lime Culture developed the quality standards for services supporting male victims/survivors of Sexual Abuse and Rape and demonstrates the commitment of the team to improving the quality of support for male victims/survivors. The standards give services the opportunity to achieve the accreditation over a 12 month period by developing, changing and enhancing the services delivered to male victims of sexual abuse and rape. The West Yorkshire ISVA service for Victim Support worked extremely hard to achieve these standards.

Team Leader Alisha Thomas said: “I am very proud of what we have accomplished. West Yorkshire ISVA service has seen many changes over the last few years and we have continued to move forward and embrace the changes as a team. The ISVA service supports all victims of sexual violence of all ages and genders. This accreditation has enabled us to look at how we support male victims and make further improvements to our service – it has been a very interesting process.”

Neil Henderson, chair of Male Survivors Partnership said: “The board of the Male Survivors Partnership are absolutely thrilled to have our first accredited member. Victim Support West Yorkshire – ISVA service has worked incredibly hard to pull together its evidence to prove it is not only working to the agreed Quality Standards but are delivering them consistently to male survivors.

“Our mission at the Male Survivors Partnership is to raise the standard of care and support across the country for male survivors and Victim Support West Yorkshire – ISVA service is flying the flag and showing its commitment to delivering the best possible standard of care.

“We would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to everyone involved and we looking forward to seeing other services becoming accredited over the next few months.”


The Male Survivors Partnership (MSP) is celebrating the first anniversary of the historic launch of the Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Survivors of Sexual Violence.

The Victim’s Commissioner, Baroness Helen Newlove, launched the first ever Quality Standards specifically for male survivor services on January 31st, 2018 and since then they have been downloaded almost 200 times from service providers across the UK.

The Quality Standards were set to improve the consistency of service provision across the UK and provide a framework and benchmark that could be used to develop and improve the quality of services to male survivors by recognising their specific needs.

Neil Henderson, chairman of the Male Survivors Partnership said: “The board of the Male Survivors Partnership are overwhelmed by the appetite for the independently accredited Quality Standards. Requests have been received from a wide range of organisations across England and Wales – it really has been quite astonishing.

“What we’re really pleased about is that Commissioning bodies have welcomed the Quality Standards as well – recognising them as a very effective means of driving up standards of support for male survivors – some are requiring agencies they commission to apply to be assessed.”

Since the launch, 10 services have been selected and progressed through the independent accreditation process with one, Victim Support West Yorkshire ISVA Service, gaining the first official accreditation earlier this month.

Alisha Thomas, ISVA Team Leader from Victims Support West Yorkshire ISVA Service said: “We are so proud to have been the first service provider to be accredited for the Quality Standards. We have found the whole process so rewarding and have used it as an opportunity to improve a couple of areas of our practice but also proved that we operate at the highest possible standard which gives our service users real confidence in what we do.

“We are committed to adhering to the Quality Standards and would recommend anyone who provides a service to support male survivors of unwanted sexual experiences to download the standards and work in line with them. This way we can collectively improve the consistency and quality of care for male survivors across the country – something these survivors so richly deserve.”

Following additional funding, 10 organisations will be selected following an application process to become part of the accreditation, monitoring and support programme enabling them to achieve a ‘Quality Mark’ once they are able to evidence that they meet the quality standards.

For further information on the standards and further guidance please visit the Males Survivors Partnership website – www.malesurvivor.co.uk or follow on Twitter – @MaleSurvivorUK or Facebook – @MaleSurvivorsPartnership



Firstly, welcome to our first newsletter for all the members of the Male Survivors Partnership.

As you will know, the Male Survivors Partnership (MSP) is a consortium of male survivor organisations across the UK who have joined together to create better support for male survivors of unwanted sexual experiences.

The MSP and LimeCulture Community Interest Company launched the Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Survivors of Sexual Violence to improve the consistency of service provision across the UK and provide a framework and benchmark that can be used to develop and improve the quality of services to male survivors by recognising their specific needs.

Since launching the standards back in January, we have all been really busy building up the partnership and supporting LimeCulture with its brilliant work with the first cohort of service providers going through the accreditation process.

There’s been a lot going on, so please take the time to read this update.

The board

We wanted to formally introduce you to the board. It’s made up of a team of eight – sector leaders, academics, and survivors. Below is a brief introduction to each of them.

Neil Henderson – co-founder and chair

Neil is Chief Executive of Safeline, a specialist sexual abuse charity that helps prevent abuse and supports anyone affected by it.  He spent most of his career working for Royal Mail in various executive roles and he is now using his commercial and corporate governance experience to enable Safeline to effectively protect and support more people affected by sexual abuse. In 2014, Safeline supported 1,000 individuals, in 2017, that increased to 15,000.

Safeline operates the National Male Helpline and Online service which has transformed support for thousands of boys and men affected by sexual abuse.

Fiona Ellis – vice chair

Fiona founded Survivors in Transition(SiT) in 2009 to provide support to female survivors of childhood sexual abuse. SiT became a charity in 2011 and now supports men and women who have experienced Sexual Abuse, Violence and Exploitation in childhood.

SiT has grown from providing support to a handful of women once a week to working with hundreds of male and female survivors annually offering a range of services designed to meet individual need.

She is passionately committed to survivors’ rights and improving their access to specialist services. Fiona is also a Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of Suffolk, and has worked with the University of Suffolk on a number of ground breaking research projects including, most recently, ‘I’ll be a survivor for the rest of my life’ in July 2018 which followed the publication of ‘Focus on Survivors: See Me, Hear Me, Believe Me’ by the University and the charity in 2015.

Martyn Sullivan – co-founder and treasurer

Martyn Sullivan has worked in the field of men and sexual abuse for over 20 years as a helpline worker, counsellor, trainer, and service manager.  Originally with Survivors UK in London and now with Mankind in Brighton & Hove, he has striven to ensure that the distinct therapeutic needs of male survivors are attended to.

In 2010/11 he was awarded a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship to investigate male survivor service provision in Australia and Canada.  The findings of this were presented at the 2012 international Male Survivor conference in New York and brought about an international network of service providers.

With an earlier career as a Unit Trust Account in various large banks within the City of London, Martyn is well placed to take on the treasurer role of the newly formed MSP management board.

Duncan Craig – co-founder

Duncan is the founder and Chief Executive of Survivors Manchester, a third sector organisation offering therapeutic and advocacy support to boys and men affected by sexual abuse, rape, and sexual exploitation.

He began designing and developing Survivors Manchester’s services in 2009, when he identified a gap in support provision for boys and men, and continues to develop new services today, most recently across the male prison estate.

As a qualified and BACP Accredited trauma-informed psychotherapist, Duncan’s personal and professional experience of sexual violation has presented him with the opportunity to be involved in a number of national inquiries, projects and forums, including The Stern Review; the National Rape Working Group; and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner on the Child Sexual Exploitation in Groups and Gangs.

He has also consulted on a number of projects, including work with male sex workers; and provided input into various media outlets including BBC Crimewatch, Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff, C4 Hollyoaks – where he was storyline consultant on the John Paul rape story. More recently, Duncan was script advisor for Coronation Street on the ground-breaking David Platt rape story; and has re-joined Hollyoaks to support the development of sexual abuse in football story.

In 2015, Duncan was awarded The Guardian Charity Trailblazer of the Year and in 2017 was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Society Arts.

Siobhan Weare

Dr Siobhan Weare is a Lecturer in Law at Lancaster University Law School. She researches and lectures in the area of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice. She is conducting the first study in the UK on ‘forced-to-penetrate’ cases (where a man is forced to penetrate, with his penis and without his consent, a woman’s vagina, anus, or mouth). These cases are so labelled because under current UK laws they are not recognised as rape. Her research has involved speaking to survivors about their experiences of this form of sexual violence. She has been awarded funding from the British Academy to support this work.

Her research has been published in leading international journals, including the International Journal of Law in Context and Archives of Sexual Behaviour. There has been extensive media coverage of her work, including by Channel 4 News, You Magazine, BBC Radio FiveLive, LBC Radio, and The Sun. Siobhan has also presented her research at events attended by the police, third sector support services, and policy makers, and has influenced policy and practice related to supporting male survivors of sexual violence.

Sam Thompson

Sam, a survivor himself, has engaged with media worldwide to share his story in a bid to encourage other men to break their silence and seek support. He has focused on challenging some of the myths surrounding male rape using his own experience to channel more progressive and forward-thinking conversations.

He been an advisor and facilitator to a number of panels and projects in the UK, including Coronation Street on the David Platt storyline, which featured elements of his own story. Sam also participated in BAFTA nominated documentary “Raped: My Story” and last year he became an Ambassador for Survivors Manchester. Sam also contributed to and featured in the Victim Strategy which was launched earlier this year.

Stephanie Reardon

Stephanie Reardon is the joint Chief Executive (and co-founder) of LimeCulture Community Interest Company, a leading national sexual violence training and development organisation. Stephanie is responsible for overseeing all LimeCulture’s programmes of work and services, including their Independent Accreditation Programme, which provides the independent validation for services achieving specific Quality Standards, including the MSP’s Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Victims/Survivors of Sexual Violence.

Before establishing LimeCulture in 2011, Stephanie held various challenging posts in central government. Between 2009 and 2011, she was the Delivery Manager for the Department of Health’s National Support Team for Response to Sexual Violence, where she supported all 39 Police Force Areas and their partners as part of a national programme to increase the network of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) across England and improve the provision of specialist services for victims of sexual violence.

Prior to this, Stephanie was the National Delivery Manager for the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Programme at the Department of Health (2007-2009), where she co-ordinated the delivery of new psychological therapies services across the NHS as part of £173million national programme. Between 2004-2007, Stephanie was the National Programme Manager for the Department of Health and Home Office’s Violence and Abuse Prevention Programme ‐ a complex policy and research programme focusing on the effects of domestic and sexual violence and abuse. Stephanie was seconded to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre between 2007-2008.

Stephanie has a legal background and is a qualified project manager.

Mike Hartill

Dr Mike Hartill is Reader in the Sociology of Sport within the Department of Social Sciences at Edge Hill University. He is a graduate of the University of Birmingham and the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC).

Mike has conducted research into child abuse in sport for over fifteen years. He has been particularly influential in highlighting the sexual abuse of boys within sports contexts, as well as conducting some of the earliest research into child protection and safeguarding policy within sport. Mike also developed several undergraduate modules on child protection in sport, from 2002 onwards, the first of their kind globally.

Mike has worked with a wide range of organisations in the UK such as the Rugby Football League, Street Games, Sport England, the NWG Network, the NSPCC, the Child Protection in Sport Unit and Survivors Manchester. Mike has also collaborated with many international organisations, such as the Council of Europe, the European Union, EPAS, ENGSO Youth, the national sports councils from Germany, Spain and Austria, and many universities. He has worked on a number of pan-European projects aimed at preventing abuse and sexual exploitation of children in sport. For example, within the project ‘Sport Respects Your Rights’ Mike helped to educate young people in sport, from across Europe, about the issue of sexual exploitation. This project provided a platform for young people to devise and deliver their own campaign on sexual violence in sport.

His current research – ‘Voices for Truth & Dignity’ – is a collaboration between eight European countries focused on the perspectives of those with lived experience (‘survivors’) of sexual abuse in sport and funded by the EU Erasmus+ programme. This project recently staged an international conference in Cologne where many men and women chose to speak out about their experiences and contribute to a ground-breaking research study that has also generated educational resourcesfor the European sports community.

Mike has also been instrumental in establishing Sport England’s newly formed Advisory Panel, served by a group of men and women with lived experience of sexual abuse in sport. He serves as an academic expert for the Council of Europe programme Pro Safe Sport and the UK Men and Boys Coalitionand has recently founded the research network ChiPS (Child Protection and Safeguarding), comprised of Edge Hill colleagues with experience and expertise in delivering and researching child protection.

From January 2019 Mike will be leading the EU-funded project CASES (Child Abuse in Sport: European Statistics) which will investigate the prevalence of sexual abuse in sport in six European countries.

The Quality Standards and Accreditation Process

January saw the launch of the Male Quality Standards at the House of Lords supported by officials from NHS England, the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.

The response to Male Quality Standards was overwhelmingly positive and they have been downloaded by more than 150 organisations since the launch.

Also, in January we opened the application process for the Independent Accreditation, Monitoring & Support Programme.  This is a pilot of an accreditation process and was our key activity for the second year of funding.

Not surprising but by the end of February 2018 we had received applications from more than thirty services; this was three times the number we could fund. The criteria used to select wave 1 services included geography, number of clients supported, services offered as well as the service’s self-assessment against the standards.

The first cohort of services have all submitted documentary evidence against the Quality Standards.  The evidence has been reviewed in detail by the independent accreditor, and individual action plans were created for each service which highlighted where there were gaps against standards and provided suggestions on how those gaps might be closed. This process has already stimulated significant change within the services which is improving the support provided to male survivors.  The first site visits have now taken place and the plan is that all pilot services will complete the process in the first half of 2019. Based on the actions being taken by the initial cohort of services to try and comply with the standards, we anticipate that that the quality kite mark for meeting the quality standards could be awarded in the new year which would represent a significant landmark in the provision of high-quality support for male survivors of sexual abuse.

Next wave of Accreditation

As a result of securing further funding to independently accredit even more services, we are pleased to announce that a second wave of organisations will  be selected to go through the Independent Accreditation, Monitoring and Support Programme as part of the Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Victims/Survivors of Sexual Violence.

As a result, LimeCulture CIC is asking for providers of support for male survivors of unwanted sexual experiences to nominate themselves to be part of the second wave.

Further information about the programme and application process is available via our website http://www.malesurvivor.co.uk/blog/

National Male Survivors helpline and Online service

Just a reminder that we support the National Male Survivors helpline. The number is 0808 800 5005.

The opening hours are as follow:

Monday 9am-5pm

Tuesday 8am-8pm

Wednesday 9am-5pm

Thursday 8am-8pm

Friday 9am-5pm

Saturday 10am-2pm

For those services that don’t offer a helpline function, please feel free to add these details to your website.

Social media

We now have an established presence across social media via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Please make sure you follow our accounts and do send through any information about events/initiatives you are working on so that we can share the details and show our support.

Send information for social media to hello@malesurvivor.co.uk

Our social media accounts are:

Twitter @MaleSurvivor

Facebook @MaleSurvivor

Instagram @MaleSurvivor

Members and Communications Lead

We now have a Communications and Members Lead, Becky Roberts.

She will be able to help answer any questions you have regarding the Male Survivors Partnership, so please contact her via hello@malesurvivor.co.ukor call her on 07878 771615

Final note …

I’m sure you will agree it’s been a really busy and formative 12 months for everyone involved with the Male Survivors Partnership. We are really proud of how much has been achieved and are even more excited for 2019 to see what we can achieve collectively.

Thank you for your support so far and we look forward to working together in 2019.

As we come to the end of 2018 we thought we would take the opportunity to reflect on our year of achievements with the Quality Standards For Services Supporting Male Victims/Survivors of Sexual Violence.

January saw the launch of the Quality Standards at the House of Lords supported by officials from NHS England, the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.

The response to Quality Standards was overwhelmingly positive and they have been downloaded by more than 150 organisations since the launch.

Also in January we opened the application process for the Independent Accreditation, Monitoring & Support Programme.  This is a pilot of an accreditation process, and was our key activity for the second year of funding.

Not surprising but by the end of February 2018 we had received applications from almost thirty services.  This was three times the number we could fund.  Services were selected to have the maximum impact on the quality of support available for male victims/survivors and selection criteria included geography, number of clients supported, services offered as well as the service’s self-assessment against the standards.

Since then, all services have participated in teleconferences, and submitted documentary evidence against the Quality Standards.  Many services had more work to do to enable them to provide additional evidence that they meet the standards, but as the year comes to a close so too does this process.  The first site visits have now taken place, and looking ahead into 2019 we expect to see all pilot services completing the process.  This will be the first accreditation of services meeting the Quality Standards and application of a quality mark which will be a hugely exciting time for everyone involved and will also represent a significant landmark in this whole process.

But the programme doesn’t end here.  Following the award of additional funding by the Home Office, the application process for the next wave of service providers who support male survivors of unwanted sexual violence has been opened for a new cohort to start this process in February next year.

The Independent Accreditation Programme is operated by LimeCulture CIC.   In addition to LimeCulture’s work with the pilot services, and our new applicants they continue to work with providers and commissioners interested in implementing the standards and accreditation.  At the time of writing no less than three regions within NHS England, working in partnership with OPCC, have approved business cases to fund accreditation of all commissioned services.

Truly exciting times for everyone involved and we cannot wait to continue this journey over the next 12 months!

Following additional funding from the Home Office, the Male Survivors Partnership in conjunction with LimeCulture CIC, is delighted to announce that 10 services will be able to apply, for free, to participate in the Independent Accreditation Programme for Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Survivors of Sexual Violence in 2019.

Applications are welcomed from a range of voluntary and community sector services, statutory and private organisations, across England and Wales, who currently support male victims/survivors of sexual violence.

Organisations interested in applying for the accreditation process should apply via the LimeCulture website.  If they provide more than one service, they should state the service they are applying to accredit.

Neil Henderson, chair and co-founder of Male Survivors Partnership and CEO of Safeline, who manages the National Male Survivors helpline, said:

“We are delighted to be able to offer these further opportunities for organisations who work with male survivors of unwanted sexual experiences, to go through the independent accreditation process. The Male Survivors Partnership is committed to improve the quality of service provision to male victims/survivors, in particular recognising their gender-based needs. By going through this process and implementing each of the Quality Standards it demonstrates an organisations commitment to deliver quality and consistency of service provision which is of huge value to male survivors.”

Jo Seward, Operations Director at LimeCulture, added:

“We have been overwhelmed by the response to the Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Victims/Survivors of Sexual Violence and the subsequent interest in the independent accreditation programme. Since launching earlier this year we have been asked to accredit an additional 21 organisations, and to be able to increase this by a further 10 is amazing.”

The Quality Standards, launched in January 2018, were developed for all services supporting male victims/survivors of sexual violence, including those services who also may also provide support to women and/or children too.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on 25th January 2019.

For further information on the standards and further guidance please visit the Male Survivors Partnership website – www.malesurvivor.co.uk or follow on Twitter – @MaleSurvivorUK or Facebook – @MaleSurvivorsPartnership or Instagram – @MaleSurvivorsPartnership

The MSP Board – November 2018

















It seems like a lifetime ago since the standards were released at the House of Lords, yet in fact it was only the beginning of this year.  Being all together again, as the founding board of The Male Survivors Partnership, felt like another really important moment.

Every single trustee sat in the (Clarke Wilmott) office in London shared the same passion and determination to improve the consistency and quality of the services provided to males. Among us are academics, service providers and survivors who enable us to all bring our difference in expertise to the discussion on how we move forward and achieve what we have set out to.

All of us have been busy in the background, firing emails to one another to update on progress being made but nothing could compare to an actual discussion round a table. Point by point we worked through the once overwhelming agenda to discover the amount of work that has been done behind the scenes and the clear progression that had already been made. As each update was given, the new actions set and and a real excitement for the next 12 months became palpable.

None of us could quite believe the success of the standards and how quickly organisations were jumping at the chance to get involved. In 2019 there are exciting plans ahead regarding accreditations and news that we will share with you soon so please watch this space for the updates.

All the small details that needed to be finalised have now been agreed which leaves us with plenty to be getting on with so watch this space for details of everything planned for 2019.

Along with my partner Clare, we founded Survivors In Transition (SiT) in 2009 – initially set up to provide peer support for women who had experienced sexual abuse in childhood. This was largely driven by Clare’s own experience and a dearth of support available in Suffolk as a whole and Ipswich in particular.

We gaily set about doing some good and contributing to our community. Despite Clare having received the bulk of her therapy in our native Zimbabwe, Ipswich was our home and where we had decided to settle.

We hired a room in a business centre for one afternoon a week and managed to get the local paper to advertise the group meeting time. Over time the group grew and we finally had more attendees than volunteers; which was we took as a sign we were doing the right thing.

In late 2010 we were contacted by a man who was desperate for some support. I gave him some time over the phone but am still ashamed to admit we turned him away as we only offered a women’s group.

This man’s voice has never left me. The desperation, the obvious fatigue from trying to find some support and the fact we’d entered the circle of people who had so obviously let him down haunted me personally.

So, we had a think and discussed whether there was a need to offer support for men and agreed that we would give it a go… surely we just offered the same provision as we did for women and the men would come streaming through the doors of the grubby community centre we were using…in their droves? Surely?
The volunteers we had at that time will attest to many a frustrating, expectant evening waiting for men to ‘turn up’ to our drop in sessions. More thinking. Maybe we’d got it wrong, maybe we should go back to just women? But the man’s voice still haunted me – and I wanted him to know we’d changed and could help him too. More thinking – maybe we needed to offer men something different? Maybe they don’t engage like women!

We changed our offer to men in 2011 and haven’t looked back. We offered them a variety of ways to engage with us, without having to walk in any actual door – until they are ready to do so.

We’ve learnt that it takes men 3-4 times as many ‘non contact’ engagements with us than it does women; less than half the amount of men than women we work want to take part in group work and men generally need a few less therapy sessions than women. But that’s it.

We’ve worked hard to ensure parity in our organisation – that the offer to men and women is the same and that they equally have as many ways as possible to engage with us, ensuring the door is equally wide open for anyone to walk through, when they are ready.

Recognising that male survivors of sexual violence were not well represented or supported in Suffolk and that we had a growing need for specialist male services and ever increasing demand from men, we approached our PCC in 2015 with a proposal for a Male ISVA, which we were successful with, and we appointed a man into the position – not without controversy – we were constantly asked would men who had experienced sexual abuse or violence engage with a man? What if they had been abused by a man….Blah blah. We held firm, as we believed they would engage with him – and they did.

We had consulted service users prior to this – the majority of them felt that as long as they were listened to, believed and respected that the gender, race or any other demographic of the person offering support wasn’t important.

So over the years we’ve become the voice for all survivors in Suffolk, including male survivors and it feels like we’ve been the dissenting voice at the back of the class saying ‘…and men too’ for years, so I was personally thrilled to attend our last update on the Suffolk VAWG strategy and be informed that they had revised the name of the strategy which is still work in progress to Violence Against Women and Girls, Men and Boys (VAWG,MB). No more ‘and men’ in brackets. We’ve worked hard to ensure equality in our service and I’m pleased that male survivors are finally being recognised in our county’s strategy and plans and its my personal aspiration that no survivor in Suffolk gets turned away again, ever. I’ll never know what happened to that man who called in 2010, and that’s on me. But not again.

Sara Blake, Head of Localities and Partnerships at Suffolk County Council had this to say:

“The Violence Against Women and Girls, Men and Boys Multi Agency Strategy is an important piece of work for us here in Suffolk. Whilst we acknowledge the gendered nature of domestic and sexual violence, as a partnership we recognise that both females and males can be victims and perpetrators and felt that our Strategy and action plan should reflect this.

Every report of abuse has a perpetrator and a victim at its heart. Even if not involved, a child will often feel the consequences and be affected by what they have seen or heard. In Suffolk we have developed a Strategy rooted in prevention and early intervention and are committed to ensuring that people receive the right support at the right time to reduce the likelihood and personal impact of becoming a victim of abuse.’

Fiona and team are proud to be part of the Male Survivors Partnership and look forward to seeing the development of the Male Service Standards.

In the light of MSP’s involvement in the latest headlines with Coronation Street, Sam Thompson shares his thoughts.

In March 2017 whilst engaging in therapy with MSP founding member, Survivors Manchester, I made the decision that I wanted to grab my negative experience, take back the power that it took from me and turn it into something positive that gave my life meaning again.

I was hammering my way down the recovery highway with less than a handful of miles to go before I reached my destination when I realised that I was beginning to loose momentum, but why? My tank was full of determination, I was being regularly serviced by Survivors Manchester, and I had more than enough supportive passengers to keep me on the straight and narrow. As I glanced in my rear view mirror the realisation applied itself to my breaks and escorted me into the nearest layby. I was leaving other survivors behind.

I had found my voice, broke my silence and started to rebuild the life that had crumbled from all around me. This though is not the same for every survivor out there. On average in takes men over 20 years to talk about being a victim of sexual assault or abuse and when we combine that with the fact that 1 in 6 men worldwide have survived these experiences… that is a shockingly high number of people that are battling to contain a mixture of uncontrollable emotions. Why do we as men feel the need to put ourselves through that kind of pain? I have no idea but what I do know is we isolate ourselves by not talking about our feelings, get trapped behind the outdated perception of masculinity and essentially feel like we have to face every one of life’s problems alone.

This then gave me the idea to share my story as far and wide as possible in order to show other men that talking about our feelings and experiences actually helps us to recover. Additionally I wanted to show that certain experiences and events are out of our control and therefore by experiencing them we are not any less of a man. But most importantly men need to know that we do not have to face everything on our own and even as a survivor of an unwanted sexual experience we are not alone. With the help of Survivors Manchester, JamPR and a number of other people I managed to achieve worldwide coverage of my story on a variety of media platforms, encouraging an unbelievable number of people to break their silence.

Once I’d taken a moment to recover and process everything that I had achieved I was contacted and asked to take part in a documentary for Channel 5. In this documentary ‘Raped: My Story’ 9 women and me shared our experiences with the hope of breaking down some of the myths surrounding rape and changing some of the misconceptions. We all received a phenomenal reception for out involvement and an exciting level of engagement from people that once believed rape to be about the length of your skirt or the number you’d score on a breathalyser.

More recently I have been involved in working alongside Survivors Manchester and Coronation Street to develop a storyline that has projected male rape in to the forefront of people’s minds. On Friday 16th March our televisions implied that David Platt had been drugged and raped by Josh Tucker. On Saturday morning there had been a 200% increase in the number of males seeking support from the National Male Survivor Helpline, delivered by MSP founding member Safeline, for the first time and this had increased to 1700% by Wednesday. Incredible!

I can now safely say to myself that I have turned my negative experience into something positive and I am proud of that. What I can also say is that there is a direct correlation between negative experiences featuring in the media and the positive outcomes that follow when they are covered with the right level of care and attention. Some people may be appalled that the rape of a man has occurred on their beloved soap however aren’t they willing to let it slide? Just for a few weeks? Isn’t it more important that thousands of people are making the life changing decision to embark on the highway of recovery?

LimeCulture CIC has today announced the 10 Wave 1 Sites who have been selected for inclusion in the Independent Accreditation, Monitoring and Support Programme as part of the Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Victims/Survivors of Sexual Violence that were recently launched in the House of Lords by Baroness Newlove, the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales.

The Wave 1 Sites are:

  1. The Oak Centre SARC (Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust)
  2. Mankind
  3. The Saturn Centre SARC (Mountain Healthcare)
  4. Survivors UK (London)
  5. Survivors in Transition
  6. Safeline
  7. Notts SVS Services
  8. West Yorkshire ISVA Service (Victim Support)
  9. Stepping Stones, North Wales
  10. Survivors Manchester

As part of the Wave 1 Site application process, we received three times as many applications as places available on the first Wave. This demonstrates a clear appetite from services wishing to meet the Quality Standards and evidence this through an independent accreditation process.

The applications we received were from a range of services supporting male victims/survivors of sexual violence, something LimeCulture and the MSP have been keen to encourage since the Quality Standards having been developed to be applicable to all services supporting males. Applications came from a range of services including: male-only services and services supporting both males and females, voluntary sector and statutory sector services, counselling and therapeutic services, Helpline services, ISVA services and SARC services, as well as sexual violence support services located with the university setting. The response has been fantastic.

Crucially, the purpose of Wave 1 is to trial and test the Independent Accreditation, Monitoring and Support programme, which has been designed to provide an independent ‘KiteMark’ to services who meet the Quality Standards. While it is vital that this independent process is able to rigorously assesses and accurately monitor services against the Quality Standards, it is also important that for those services who do not yet meet the Quality Standards or are working towards achieving it, this process can identify where services need further work to meet the quality standards and provide targeted support to assist their development.

Stephanie Reardon, Joint CEO for LimeCulture said: “Wave 1 is absolutely key for LimeCulture to trial and test our own assessment processes, as well as the support functions required to support services to meet the Quality Standards. On that basis the 10 Wave 1 Sites that have been selected because they offer us an excellent spread of services to work with across England and Wales. The 10 Wave 1 Sites are also meeting the Quality Standards to varying degrees, which is useful as it allows us to test how best to support services to reach the benchmark and fully comply with the Quality Standards”.

Lloyds Bank Fund England and Wales, who funded the development of the Quality Standards, has funded the 10 Wave 1 Sites to be included in the Independent Accreditation, Monitoring and Support programme. Given the high number of applications we received, we know that a large number of services supporting male victims/surviors offering demonstrably high quality services have been disappointed not to be include in the programme in this first wave. LimeCulture and MSP are now in discussions about expanding the Independent Accreditation, Monitoring and Support programme in further waves. Further information about the programme and applications for wave 2 sites will be made in due course.

The Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Victims/Survivors of Sexual Violence are available to download free of charge by clicking here

As the first Programme Management Board of 2018 commences, the PMG and Lime Culture CIC reflect on coming to the end of the 1st year of this incredible project.

Without a doubt, this first year has surpassed expectations and whilst we have achieved what we set out to and are perfectly on track with regards to the original project plan and on budget too, the quality of what Lime Culture CIC have produced is far greater than we expected.

Opening the PMG, Duncan Craig of Survivors Manchester thanked Lime Culture’s Tom, Becky and Steph for all of their hard work and input into this project and congratulated them on the production of the Male Service Standards and supplementary documents such as the desktop review, and accreditation documents. These sentiments were very much echoed by PMG members, Neil Henderson (Safeline), Martyn Sullivan (Mankind) and Andy Connelly (Survivors UK).
Following the agenda, the meeting began with all those present checking and discussing the project plan and budget, making sure that the project is on track. Discussion focused on the budget allocated for supporting organisations to work to meet the standards and a lively debate was had on how important it is for this project to ensure that quality is held on to whilst also ensuring that organisations’ expectations of what support can be offered and what needs can be met is managed effectively.

The meeting then moved on to discuss the Draft Accreditation and Monitoring Process including self-assessment and evidence guidance. As PMG members have been looking at this already and feeding back information, it meant that a greater discussion could be had on ‘sense checking’ the processes that Lime Culture have designed for organisations to go through. As the PMG are all organisations themselves, they were able to give Lime Culture insight into what might be problematic and what needs explaining, using their own experience. A deeply rich conversation was had and a number of key decisions we’re able to be made by Lime Culture on how they will proceed.

Steph, Becky and Tom then took the PMG through their ideas for how organisations could engage in this Wave 1 process and the launch of the standards, which will take place in Westminster on 31.01.18 (which we will ensure that we produce a blog about on the day).

The meeting drew to a close and all agreed that the forthcoming year was going to be thoroughly exciting and that male survivors of sexual abuse, rape and sexual exploitation can only be winners with this project – they deserve to get a quality assured support service regardless of where they live in the UK.

PMG Documents

Meeting Agenda – Click Here