Male victims of rape and sexual violence will receive unprecedented access to vital help and support thanks to the first dedicated fund designed specifically to meet their needs, Victims’ Minister Damian Green has announced.
The Government has committed £500,000 over the next financial year to provide services, like advice and counselling, to help male victims who previously have not been able to receive such support and encourage them to come forward after experiencing such a crime.
Victims’ Minister Damian Green said:
We believe around twelve per cent of rapes are against men. Yet many choose not to come forward, either to report the crime or seek the support they need. I am determined to help break the silence on a subject still seen as taboo.
Average sentences for male rape have increased but there is more to do. That is why we are toughening up sentencing and have introduced a mandatory life sentence for anyone convicted of a second very serious sexual or violent crime.
Latest figures show there were 2,164 rape and sexual assaults against males aged 13 or over recorded by the police in the year ending September 2013. The fund announced today will also support historic victims who were under 13 at the time of the attack.
The fund will be open to bids from all charities and support organisations who feel they can offer help specifically for male victims. This will build on the services already available for rape or sexual abuse victims and ensure victims of most serious crimes received the highest level of support.
One organisation which currently helps male sexual violence victims is Survivors Manchester, whose founder Duncan Craig has welcomed the new funding.
Mr Craig said:
In the past there has not been enough support in the UK for male victims of sexual violence, such as myself.
But in the future I would like to see both the government and society begin talking more openly about boys and men as victims and see us trying to make a positive change to pulling down those barriers that stop boys and men speaking up. This funding will help to raise awareness of the issue and ensure that male victims are no longer ignored.
I’d like to tell all boys and men that are sitting in silence I have been there. I have been silent and it’s not a nice place to be. Yes it’s difficult, embarrassing and painful to speak out but once you start healing, you will be able to break free from the legacy. Get support lads, don’t suffer. You deserve to be able to heal.
Actor James Sutton plays rape victim John Paul McQueen in Hollyoaks. He worked with Survivors Manchester on the soap’s current storyline and is supporting the Ministry of Justice to raise awareness of the issue of male rape and sexual violence.
Mr Sutton said:
The reason it was so important for Hollyoaks to feature a male rape storyline is because it is so rarely talked about. The over-riding message from survivors I met while researching the role was that victims of male sexual violence do not know where to go for help and support.
Having worked to raise awareness of this important issue it is heartening to see funding allocated specifically for male victims that will help to set up more counselling and advice centres and show people that they do not need to deal with it alone – they can get help and justice.
Victims Commissioner Baroness Newlove, who worked with the Ministry of Justice to highlight the issue of funding for male victims of sexual violence, said:
We must never underestimate the pain that victims go through as a result of such disturbing crimes. Victims of male rape have told me that they need more support – I’m glad the Government has listened.
I hope that this will encourage more victims of male rape to come forward and receive the support that they deserve. But work should not stop there – I will continue to highlight the needs of male rape victims and ensure their voices are heard.
- 72,000 males per year are estimated to become victims of sexual offences, whether reported or not. Figures on the number of estimated male victims can be found in the Crime Survey for England and Wales.
- The Ministry of Justice is launching the #breakthesilence campaign on social media to raise awareness of the fund and encouraging male victims to speak out about their experiences. You can also lend your support to the campaign by signing up at http://thndr.it/1lqa2US.
- The statistics on police recorded rape and sexual assault crimes against males aged 13 or over can be found in Crime Statistics – period ending September 2013.
- Further statistics on court proceedings and sentencing outcomes for rape and sexual assaults against males can be found in An Overview of Sexual Offending in England and Wales. This shows that 91 per cent of offenders in 2011 who were found guilty of rape of a male were given custodial sentences, with an average jail time of eight-and-a-half years.
- This announcement follows the Government setting out its commitment to improve support for victims and witnesses and focus resources on those in most need in its response to the 2012 consultation on victims and witnesses.
- The revised Victims’ Code was launched in December, giving victims of crime a greater voice and increased support throughout the criminal justice system.
- Today’s announcement is in addition to the £12 million since 2010 that this Government has provided to 77 rape support centres across England and Wales that support women. As part of this 13 new centres have been funded to help fill geographical gaps in the provision of this vital resource and we will soon be confirming further funding for these centres.
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