Billboard launch for sex abuse counselling site
A billboard campaign to help male survivors of sexual abuse will launch in West Yorkshire on bank holiday Monday.
The roadside poster campaign by Survivors West Yorkshire will raise awareness of its free online counselling service, Ben’s Place.
The two-week campaign will focus in Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield. It will be promoting the public awareness message: “Sexual abuse is something I experienced, it’s not who I am.”
Ben’s Place is named after a West Yorkshire male survivor who experienced childhood sexual abuse between the ages 10 and 13. Ben took his own life shortly after his 23rd birthday.
The mission of Ben’s Place is to deliver a specialist support and advice service to adult male survivors (currently aged 16 plus) who are ready to look for help with their ordeals.
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. But it hopes 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.
The founder and chief executive officer 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.”
The development of Ben’s Place in 2016 and last year was made possible through funding from the West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC). PCC Mark Burns-Williamson said he was delighted to help and “the needs of victims will always come first”.