Dorset Sexual Assault Referral Centre

We provide forensic medicals and crisis support for victims of sexual violence. Men, women and children. Recent or non recent. We also provide advice and online resources to help professionals offer the right support and advice to our service users. The Shores is here 24/7, 365 days a year to offer everyone information and guidance if someone discloses that they have been raped or sexually assaulted, regardless of when it happened.

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

Victims of sexual violence often feel isolated and unable to turn to anyone for help. At the Shores we believe in education for both clients and support agencies alike about the affects of sexual violence and the trauma that victims go through. By helping clients understand the trauma of sexual violence we empower them to seek appropriate support and an ongoing care pathway that will support them in all their needs removing the feelings of isolation which can lead to self-harm and suicide.

Males are 3 times more likely to take their own lives than females, male victims of sexual violence find it even more difficult to disclose due to masculinity and gender socialisation, often their only way out is felt to be suicide. We work with support agencies to help them understand these difficulties and support them in developing a climate that encourages disclosure. We work with male clients to help them understand the trauma of sexual violence both the physiological and psychological impacts and how this differs for males and females allowing them to feel listened to and understood and able to express and feel supported. We want to remove the isolation felt by male victims and the subsequent suicidal ideation as a result of what they have experienced.

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What are your current priorities?

To Promote SARC services within all support organisations.

To ensure multi agency approaches to sexual violence victim/survivor support.

To ensure all care pathways are person centred

To promote our services for male victim/survivors

To educate all support agencies on the difficulties of disclosure and the appropriate referral pathways for victims of sexual violence

To significantly reduce the suicide rate for victims of sexual violence

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What challenges are you currently facing?

There is a significant lack of understanding of the services offered to male victims of sexual violence and the difficulties males face in disclosing becoming a victim. Males are 3 times more likely than females to take their own lives. Breaking down the barriers that currently exist within the support agencies and male environments around male victims and the stigma felt is a major challenge.

Challenging the masculine gender identity and how this impacts on male victims of sexual violence is also a challenging area that we are currently working on. Both the education of victims and support agencies alike.

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