In August 2013, we received a copy of a letter from the Ministry of Justice regarding a new fund (approx. £4 million per year over three years) to that Rape Support Centre’s and organisations supporting sexual abuse survivors will be able to apply for. GREAT! we thought, until we read this bit:
The Rape Support Fund is allocated to supporting women and girls over the age of 13 only at a cost of approximately £4 million per year over 3 years.
So its only for organisations that support women and girls. Yet again, we’ve been ignored. How long will this go on? Do the Ministry of Justice not believe that men and boys are victims of sexual abuse and rape? Well we have a whole load of evidence and statistics that proves they do.
We have sent a formal response to the Ministry (see below) and as of today (11.09.2013) we’re waiting for a response. We’ve sent our letter to every MP in Greater Manchester asking for their support in this and as of yet, only a small number have responded to us. You can help by writing to your MP asking them to support us and in turn, support male survivors in their constituency.
Help us #break-the-silence, act now!
Victim and Witness Unit
102 Petty France
NATIONAL COMMISSIONING OF RAPE SUPPORT SERVICES
I write to enquire of your reason for specifically excluding services specifically supporting male victims (boys and men) of sexual abuse and rape from the commissioning process that you will be carrying out this autumn. You state in your letter that this is,
“for rape support services whose primary purpose is to provide direct support to victims of rape and other forms of sexual assault, including both recent and historic abuse”.
I would like to remind the department that both boys and men are also “victims of rape and other forms of sexual assault, including both recent and historic abuse”.
This issue was raised in 2011 when the Department allocated funding to support 78 centres specifically supporting females but not males. There was no equity of service.
Whilst I am personally pleased to hear that you are investing more money into the sector, I find it abhorrent that yet again, male victims have been excluded from this process. I’d like to ask, what message do you think this sends out to the public? To ensure that there is no confusion here, I can confirm the message it sends out is one of “boys and men don’t get abused or raped”, which my colleagues within the other five male victims organisations across the UK agreed. The commissioning narrowness causing damage to male survivors of abuse yet again by disbelieving and invalidating them thereby capitulating the abuse itself
Consensus is rare and a term to use with caution. Also is this research/survey data or something else? I’d just soften it by staying something about the commissioning narrowness causing damage to male survivors of abuse yet again by disbelieving and invalidating them thereby capitulating the abuse itself. Actually that’s not soft at all!
When the department then decided, seemingly due to pressure, to provide funding for male victims, it was then ‘shared’ with DV services and only 3 organisations who specifically work with sexual abuse and rape received it. The rest of the money went to organisations who seemed to suddenly begin working with this client group. Are they still delivering those interventions” I think you will find not.
Survivors Manchester has seen a 48% increase in requests for support from January-June 2013 compared to the same time period in 2012.
Whilst at some level I can understand the current reporting of sexual abuse and rape is from females, the lower number of males does not necessarily show a lower need. In fact, all the research evidence (see British Crime Survey, Calderwood (2005), indicates that there is a significant level of under-reporting from males and its third-sector organisations like Survivors Manchester that are aiding the increase in our area.
As you state “The Ministry of Justice will run a commissioning process that is fair and transparent, so that all potential bidders can easily see and understand the procurement process, as well as the purpose and broad activity of the subsequent grant of funding.” Therefore, I would welcome an explanation to this exclusion by 20 September 2013,
I am interested in finding out what is the reason that the national commissioning of rape support services focuses solely on services for girls and women, and why explicitly exclude support for boys and men?
I await your response with anticipation.