New West Yorkshire service to support male sex abuse survivors

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A new support service for male survivors of sexual abuse from West Yorkshire has been launched.

Ben’s Place will provide specialist advice via phone and online to adult men who have experienced sexual abuse during childhood.

The Survivors West Yorkshire charity has set up Ben’s Place, which is named after a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who took his own life at the age of 23.

Ben’s mother said she was “overwhelmed” at the creation of the free service.

“I am moved that the life and memory of my son will not be forgotten in Ben’s Place,” she added.

The launch coincides with International Boys and Men’s Day tomorrow, which is focusing on preventing male suicide.

Ben’s Place will be rolled out next month, initially offering support through a freephone number as well as text, chat and email services. It is hoped that next year it will be expanded to provide counselling and workshops.

Start-up funding has come from West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson, who said: “I welcome this as a further important step forward in improving services for survivors of sexual abuse in West Yorkshire. “The needs of victims will always come first and I am delighted to have been able to support Ben’s Place and the work of Survivors West Yorkshire in providing this distinctive service.”

Bob Balfour, founder and CEO of Survivors West Yorkshire, said planning for the service had been taking place for nearly 20 years: “I hope the community and its leaders will support its rapid development so we can collectively reduce the negative outcomes experienced by many male survivors across West Yorkshire.”

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