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Kate Hellin: Trustee

Chartered Psychologist & Psychotherapist

Kate is a chartered psychologist and psychotherapist who has worked for nearly 30 years in the NHS until 2017 and for about eight years assessing people who are dealing with court proceedings of different kinds.

She sees people who have been badly affected by their pasts and very often through abuse of various kinds which has caused enormous distress, often hidden but sometimes breaking through in emotional, behavioural and inter-personal problems. Kate’s involvement is often long-standing with people whose difficulties won’t change quickly because they are deeply rooted

Why did you choose to become a board member of Survivors Manchester?

I came across Survivors Manchester when I was searching for help for the men that I was meeting who were just starting to talk about what had happened to them. When you are starting on that path, you may need to start and stop, to face the past and then withdraw from that for a while. Survivors Manchester offers that kind of flexibility and sensitivity for people who are tentative and uncertain.

All the conversations I had with those involved with Survivors Manchester were straight talking, passionate, no-nonsense and deeply committed. I knew straightaway that Survivors Manchester can make a real difference to men who have experienced sexual assault. I was really pleased to be asked to join the Board of Trustees.

What would you like to see Survivors Manchester do in Manchester?

Get bigger and reach more people but not too big so that it loses its attunement to the men who need it or becomes restricted by the kinds of rules and regulations and defensive practises that can limit the flexibility of larger organisations.

Do you have a message for Greater Manchester residents?

Let’s not be surprised about sexual abuse of men. We were similarly ignorant and in denial about the sexual abuse of girls twenty years ago and now we have moved on and it’s a little easier to talk about and respond properly to people who are struggling with those experiences. We need to move on and see that this happens to boys and men too and creates some very different issues for male survivors. Most people who have been sexually abused in childhood never disclose this and carry it as a shameful and damaging secret. We all need to be more open to the fact of male abuse and our openness can make it easier for boys and men to speak out instead of suffering in silent shame and secrecy.

What’s your favourite thing about Manchester?

Manchester is my adopted home. I have been here for more than 25 years and I chose it or it chose me. It’s a cliché, I know, but I love its diversity and grittiness. I love the fact that it’s more than big enough for any one person; all the culture, sports, urban development and incomparable countryside, but small enough to get to know well. It’s now where I’m from.

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