The Hon Kevin Andrews MP: provide funding to support male survivors of child sexual abuse
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Survivors & Mates Support Network (SAMSN) is a national not-for-profit organisation that runs face-to-face groups and workshops for male survivors of childhood sexual abuse and their families. SAMSN's workshops are based on the group work that Mark Griffiths (psychologist) and Tony Phiskie (social worker) conducted at the Sexual Assault Service, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital from 1991 until that service ceased in 2009.
In a letter received from the office of the Minister for Social Services on October 17, we were informed that our request for federal funding had been rejected. The letter went on to say, “on 14 July, 2013 the Australian Government announced 28 organisations who will provide community-based support services to people who participate in the Royal Commission. Two of these services… provide specific services for men."
Of the two services mentioned, one is a national telephone service that does not offer group work for men or even make mention of child sexual abuse on their website. The other service is based solely in Queensland.
Ironically, many of the men now contacting SAMSN for support have been referred by agencies that have received funding to deliver support to victims engaging with the Royal Commission.
Did you know that 80% of victims of child sexual abuse in institutions are boys?
Since the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse began earlier this year, 750 people across Australia have shared their personal stories of childhood sexual abuse with the Commission. Another 1,000 people have also registered to attend private sessions.
The head of the Royal Commission, Justice Peter McClellan, recently reported that on average 10 people are registering each day. The numbers are truly staggering and are not abating. Recent Inquiries in Victoria and NSW suggest this is the tip of the iceberg.
Demand for our service has now outstripped our capacity. We do not want to turn away any man who needs our help but we need assistance so we can continue to provide a safe space for men and their families to access professional care and support.
The recent Victorian Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other Organistions substantiated the tragic deaths by suicide of over 50 male survivors of institutional abuse in Ballarat alone. We know of many more in the Maitland-Hunter region. The full cost of childhood sexual abuse in our communities is only just beginning to be understood.
At a time when many men are disclosing about the harm that was done to them when they were children we cannot afford to ignore the paucity of services for adult male survivors of abuse.
In light of the national Royal Commission and the increased demand for our services, we respectfully ask the federal government to reconsider our request for funding as a matter of urgency.
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