Service Director Blog: July 2012
As I write this, my first blog as Service Director, I am sat on a train heading to London for my first meeting of the National Network for Research into Effective Responses to Long-term Consequences of Violence, Trauma and Abuse. I feel very lucky and honoured to be asked to be a part of this national research group (I sometimes still doubt my ability, knowledge and credentials – old habits die hard I guess) and hope that what I can bring to the table is not only my academic research knowledge of the sexual abuse and rape of boys and men, or my clinical experience as a therapist working with male survivors of sexual abuse and rape; but AS a male survivor of sexual abuse and rape myself, a knowledge that is sometimes overlooked by researchers. I hope that I can play at least a small part in bringing this subject out of the darkness and break the silence.
Our original rationale for including a monthly blog on our brand new site, was to give us a way of communicating with everyone outside of Survivors Manchester, telling people what we’ve been up to; giving people the opportunity to feedback to us their experiences of engaging with our services; and helping with our goal of becoming the most transparent organisation known to man (and woman).
So what can I tell you about what’s been going on? Well we kick off this “new” year (our 4th AGM took place on 28th May) with the election of a new Trustee, Dr Kate Hellin. Kate was one of the first health professionals to contact us, when we first started the organisation, back in 2009 as she wanted to find more support for some of the male survivors she was working with at the time. Kate is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist who has worked for over 20 years in the NHS and for about five years assessing people who are dealing with court proceedings of different kinds. Her knowledge of the impact of sexual abuse, and passion for addressing the silence surrounding male survivors made her an ideal candidate for us to beg to become a trustee. I can guarantee that it didn’t take much ‘arm twisting’, in fact Kate was surprised that she was being asked and jumped at the chance. You can read more about Kate on her trustee page by clicking here, but I’d like to publically welcome her to Survivors Manchester. You know, I look at our board and the skills they bring and hand on heart, can honestly say that I think we are the luckiest organisation in the world to have such a talented group of people wanting to help make Survivors Manchester the best is can possibly be.
At the same time, the Survivors Manchester annual accounts were agreed and the 2011-2012 Financial Statement was ‘signed off’. This can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here.
The requests for support continue to rise and by the end of June 2012, we had had our 215th boy/man asking for help. It’s always an absolute privilege meeting new survivors because not only have they chosen to speak out (some for the first time in 20 years), but its Survivors Manchester that they have chosen to do that too. I just can’t help being proud of that fact and I make no apologies for being so!
June saw the first official meeting of the new Survivors Manchester Guide Project editorial team, and what a fantastic meeting it was. Legacy issues that could be written about were being identified; creative ways of communication were being discussed; and ideas about what the guide should eventually look like were flowing. The project is funded, in the main, by Health Form from the People’s Health Trust with the award we received of £9,948. The funds will pay for the use of various work and meeting rooms, designers, artists, group and 1:1 support of editorial team, and the final production, printing and distribution of 3,500 28-page survivors guides. I cannot express how excited I am about this project and if you want to be involved, then drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Coming up in the next few months…
Our friends over at Zurich Community Trust and Zurich Insurance plc are busy assisting us in developing our internal policies and procedures (thanks folks, you really are worth your collective weight in gold), and providing business support through a mentoring role, something that I find personally invaluable and want to publically thank Matt Hartigan, Head of Broker Market North West, for his continued commitment to helping Survivors Manchester advance and supporting me to be the best organisational leader I can be.
Alongside the creation of the Survivors Manchester Guide, we are about to commit to undertaking the Information Standard process which, with a great deal of hard work, will see Survivors Manchester become accredited as a provider of evidenced based information. With the vast amount of literature out there that is not only unethical but also perpetuates many of the myths surrounding men as victims of sexual abuse and rape, it is vital to us that the information we provide is trustworthy and factual. More on this over the next few months.
And finally, with the continued support of a fantastic consultant, Sue Hennesy, we are hoping to submit a number of funding bids that, if successful, will enable Survivors Manchester to provide more flexibility with the availability of support, further meeting the demand and needs of male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. Sue’s time has been paid for by Manchester Community Central for which we are extremely grateful (and for their continued developmental support of Survivors Manchester – thanks Cheryl, Mike, Tracy and the team).
All in all, it’s looking like a really interesting next few months for us and I hope that I have given you a real insight into the goings on here, but if you have any queries or comments, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at email@example.com
I hope that July is nice warm and sunny time for everyone (and not this wet and grey time it seems at the moment). So until next time,
Break the silence… It stops with us.