A groundbreaking new support service has been launched to help Tayside men who have experienced sexual assault or rape.
The helpline, available via either email or phone, has been launched by Men Only Tayside (MOT), in partnership with Victim Support Scotland.
The confidential service aims to encourage men who have experienced sexual assault to get help by directing them towards dedicated support – including during the legal process if their attacker is later prosecuted.
MOT, a partnership between NHS Tayside and the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), hopes to break the stigma surrounding male sexual assault.
Anastacia Ryan, service and partnership manager at THT in Scotland, said: “At Men Only Tayside we provide support and advice for gay and bisexual men around HIV, hepatitis and STIs, including sexual health screenings.
“But, prior to now, we’ve not been able to provide support around sexual assault – despite knowing it’s an issue for some of our clients.”
Kate Wallace, CEO of VSS, added: “This dedicated service allows partnership agencies to identify men affected by sexual assault so that they might benefit from VSS’s free, confidential help and support in the community as well as at court, if a case goes to trial.
“Our emotional and practical support enables people to better deal with what has happened.”
In Scotland, 2% of men have experienced rape or sexual assault, according to the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal).
But it is believed the rate could be much higher, as men often find it difficult to discuss what has happened.
Ann Eriksen, of NHS Tayside, said the service would “bridge the gap” in the support on offer to male sex assault survivors.
She added: “We want to make sure that men have the confidence to report sexual violence and are supported to access help when they need it, including supporting them through the criminal justice processes.”
While the service is already running, MOT will be holding an information session at Ninewells Hospital on March 22 from 9.30am-12.30pm.
Men looking for support following rape and sexual assault can contact the helpline by calling 01382 238720 or by emailing email@example.com.