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Encouraging male victims to get support

PCC Mark Shelford and Avon and Somerset Police are encouraging male rape victims to come forward and access the support from local support services.

Following a storyline on Eastenders, which sees Ben Mitchell experience a serious sexual assault by a friend, the PCC wants to raise awareness of the emotional, psychological and practical support available to male rape survivors through Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) and Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs).

SARCs offer a range of services including crisis care, medical and forensic examinations, emergency contraception and testing for STIs. They can also arrange access to an ISVA as well as referrals to mental health support and sexual violence support services in your local area.

If the victim is thinking about reporting an assault to the police, the centre can arrange for the survivor to speak to a specially trained police officer who can explain the next steps.

Forensic medical examinations can be arranged even if the victim does not want to report the assault.

An ISVA provides practical and emotional support to victims and survivors of sexual violence. ISVAs are independent from the police and the type of support they provide will vary from person to person, depending on the needs of the individual and their situation.

ISVAs provide impartial information to the victim about all of their options including reporting to the police, specialist support such as sexual violence counselling and will provide information on other services that a survivor might require such as health and social care, housing or benefits. ISVAs also support the victim through the criminal justice process including if the trial goes to court.

“My overriding message to any victims or rape or serious sexual assault is you will be heard and you will be supported. It is important that we talk about men as victims of these crimes to encourage survivors to come forward and access the support they so deserve.”

PCC Mark Shelford

The PCC co-commissions The Bridge SARC with NHS England, which offers support to survivors of sexual assault. The service is available to adults or children living in Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset, Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

The PCC commissions the ISVA provision at Safe Link. The service provides support for adults and children living in Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset, Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

“Rape and sexual assaults are devastating crimes that can result in lifelong trauma. We understand how difficult it can be for any victims to talk about being raped and sexually assaulted.

“Please be assured that take all reports of rape and sexual assault very seriously. You’ll be treated with respect and not judged. Above all, you will be supported by specialist investigators with the assistance of independent services with experience of supporting men and boys who are victims of rape or sexual assault.

“It can be hard to come forward in these situations but it is important to tell someone – if you don’t feel able to tell us, please do reach out to one of the other support services available. They will help and guide you, explain the choices available to you with no pressure to report to the police, but will support you should you device to speak to us about what happened.”

Force lead for Rape and Serious Sexual Assault, Detective Superintendent Lisa Simpson

Support for victims and survivors

Help is available whether you report to the police or not, and no matter how long ago the crime took place.

Further information about help and support available can be found via:

Information about support for boys and men at the Bridge can be found via:

Information about ISVA support at Safe Link for boys and men can be found via:

Information about reporting a rape of sexual assault to Avon and Somerset Police can be found via: