CEO Blog: A Challenging Question
We often get asked a very emotive and difficult question here at Survivors Manchester
“What are you doing to stop sexual offending?”
“How are you helping to ensure further victims and survivors are safe?”
I find it a really hard and challenging question to answer, because like most people, it brings about an instant defensive stance in me and as a survivor, it causes me to think about the offender. Yet as a leader of this organistion and someone that is in the privileged position to be able to play a small part in influencing decision makers and adding knowledge to the research evidence, I know that something needs to be done and we need to rethink what we are doing (that’s we as in the country as well as my organistion).
For many years, like other survivor organistions, we have kept our work focused on the survivor’s needs (for us its specifically the male survivor’s needs) and nothing much else. We didnt necessarily think about the partner, family, friends that he is connected to; or any other issue connected to male survivors. As we grew as an organistion, we began to build the evidence of further need and so we opened the doors to people who are affected by male sexual abuse (wives, daughters, husbands, sons, family, friends and professionals – see here) and began to think about what part we play in prevention.
We supported the Greater Manchester It’s Not Okay project, by going out with Greater Manchester Police and key personnel on particular safeguarding Operations to help them understand the vulnerability of some individuals, such as sex workers and those young men at risk of sexual exploitation; we attended advisory groups on research into sexual exploitation, sexual abuse in the family; and we engaged in debate about mandatory reporting.
To ensure that those that access our service felt safe, we created a internal policy that ensured anyone that had a conviction for, or was under investigation for any sexual offences wouldnt be able to access our services but we would provide information on other services.
We adhered strictly to our safeguarding responsibility and contacted the relevant authorties when needed, with some great results.
So when the opportunity arose for us to be involved in a a new project from the Mayor’s office, in collaboration with Greater Manchester Police, Manchester Metropolitian University, University of Central Lancashire, The Lucy Faithful Foundation, and many others, I knew that it was something we had to do.
And so after much planning, hard work, research and development, The Change Project was born – part of the Greater Manchester Accord Programme.
The Change Project is delievered across Greater Manchester by new team, based in a variety of new locations, with new contact details and further information can be found here.