Greater Manchester based male sexual abuse charity, We Are Survivors, has announced that it has been awarded a contract by NHS England to deliver trauma-informed talking therapy to survivors in custody across fifteen North West prisons. The announcement coincides with the organization’s 15th anniversary, which began on February 5th, 2024.
The OUT Spoken Talking Therapy Service, developed by the charity, will receive over £3.5 million in funding to provide support to prisoners who have experienced sexual abuse in their early lives. This service has already received over 950 referrals in the last year, with 61% of them coming directly from prisoners seeking help.
Founder and CEO of We Are Survivors, Duncan Craig OBE, expressed his pride in securing this contract, stating that the charity has worked tirelessly over the past decade to establish its presence in prisons. He also acknowledged the increase in disclosures of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse following the ITV documentary on Jimmy Savile, which sparked a national conversation about the long-term impact of sexual abuse.
As a survivor himself, Craig understands the importance of survivors being able to speak out and rid themselves of the secret they have been carrying for many years. He also noted that this is a phenomenon that has not been seen in the prison system before.
Since the OUT Spoken service began in early 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the charity has provided 9494 hours of therapy, supported 2334 prisoners, and delivered 30 training sessions on working with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, rape, and sexual exploitation.
Alison Lloyd, We Are Survivors Criminal Justice Services Director, has been leading the OUT Spoken project since its inception and has recently developed a therapeutic education group to help prisoners understand the impact of trauma on themselves and others. She stated that it has been a privilege to work alongside her colleagues at HMP Deerbolt and witness the bravery and trust of the young men who attended the program.
A report on the pilot group at HMP/YOI Deerbolt has just been released and can be found on the organization’s online publication library. This report highlights the importance of these programs in giving individuals a second chance to change their lives.
We Are Survivors is dedicated to providing support to survivors of sexual abuse, and this NHS England contract will allow them to continue their work in the prison system for the next 5 to 7 years. The charity hopes to reach even more survivors and provide them with the necessary support and resources to heal and move forward.
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