West Yorkshire's ONLY online specialist support service for male survivors of child sexual abuse and adult rape – Ben's Place – receives £20k worth of funding from People's Postcode Lottery.
On 1 February 2019, Survivors West Yorkshire received a very welcome £20,000 cash injection from Postcode Community Trust, a grant giving charity funded entirely by players of People's Postcode Lottery. Some of this money will be directed to its specialist online counselling service for male survivors, 'Ben's Place'.
The organisation, which promotes the public awareness message, "Sexual abuse is something I experienced, it's not who I am!", said it was delighted to be able to continue offering such a crucial service.
Ben's Place is named after a West Yorkshire male survivor who experienced childhood sexual abuse between the ages of 10 and 13. Ben took his own life shortly after his 23rd birthday. The mission of Ben's Place is to deliver a professionally qualified and informed specialist support, counselling and advice service to adult male survivors (currently aged 16 plus) who are ready to look for help with their experiences of sexual crimes committed against them.
Ben's mother said: "I am moved that the life and memory of my son will not be forgotten in Ben's Place. I am also overwhelmed that Ben's Place will be a free service to help, support and counsel male survivors of sexual abuse."
Ben's Place currently only offers online services. However, as its virtual service develops and becomes sustainable its objective is to combine its virtual offerings with a range of off-line workshops and outreach to support male survivors to live a thriving and healthy life beyond their individual experiences of sexual violence-abuse.
The founder and CEO of Survivors West Yorkshire, Bob Balfour said: "My ambition for Ben's Place is that any male survivor anywhere in West Yorkshire will be able to connect easily to counselling support using the internet and have a simple message spoken to them: "You've never been alone – we've been working hard for decades to create safe spaces and we're pleased you've found us."