West Yorkshire based sexual violence charity to host official launch of VictimFocus Academy on 8th July

Survivors West Yorkshire, the Yorkshire region’s ONLY online specialist support service for male survivors of child sexual abuse (Ben’s Place) hosts launch of VictimFocus Academy with the generous support of the Digital Health Enterprise Zone (DHEZ)

This exciting event is taking place on Monday 8 July 2019 at The Digital Exchange in Little Germany, Bradford. It will celebrate the launch of the VictimFocus Academy and Resources Collection, an innovative new international service providing evidenced, critical and ethical resources, tools, books and products. The new collection of resources and education aim to support the field to improve our responses to people who have experienced sexual violence, abuse and trauma. 

With a focus on developing professionals and students towards anti-victim blaming, anti-stigma, trauma-informed and strengths-based approaches, Dr Jessica Eaton will present discussion, debate and findings from her work and from her new resources and services.

The VictimFocus business model is an ethical approach to provision of resources and education, with much of the new products being completely free and with all products being priced to be very affordable.

Dr Eaton (FRSA) is the founder and owner of VictimFocus, the VictimFocus Blog and The Eaton Foundation. The VictimFocus Blog has 1.2 million readers per year and provides a lively, funny and critical perspective on CSE, victim blaming, feminism and sexual violence against females and males. In 2018, Dr Eaton developed and launched the VictimFocus Charter to encourage all professionals to challenge and reduce victim blaming in their practice.

Bob Balfour, CEO and founder of Survivors West Yorkshire, said “we are delighted to be hosting such an important event. It is particularly poignant at a time when funding is increasingly difficult to get, despite organisations reporting big increases in demand for their services. Victim blaming undermines the safeguarding of children and the well-being needs of the adults they become.”

Survivors West Yorkshire is the home of Ben’s Place, a pioneering and secure specialist digital cloud based counselling service. It currently provides professional counselling, emotional support and advice during its operating hours. Its counsellors are BACP registered and have undergone specialist training to work online. During 2019 – 2020 it hopes to offer increasing counselling and support services offline across West Yorkshire.

The free counselling service is available to all males (aged 16 years plus) throughout the whole of West Yorkshire. 

Ben’s Place is named after a West Yorkshire male survivor who experienced childhood sexual abuse between the ages of 10 and 13. Ben took his own life shortly after his 23rd birthday. 

Researchers have found that 1 in 6 men have experienced abusive sexual experiences before the age of 18. This is probably a low estimate, since it doesn’t include non-contact experiences, which can also have lasting negative effects. West Yorkshire has some of the highest rates of sexual crime in the UK.

The mission of Ben’s Place is to deliver a professionally qualified and informed specialist support, counselling and advice service to adult male survivors (currently aged 16 plus) who are ready to look for help with their experiences of sexual crimes committed against them. 

Simply knowing they’re not alone is powerful and healing for many male survivors, especially given society’s denial of sexual violence-abuse, as evidenced by the latest reports from the Inquiry into Childhood Sexual Abuse (IICSA) led by Prof, Alex Jay. 

Survivors West Yorkshire has, for 20 years, proactively lobbied to improve services. It believes that when society listens to the stories of recovery and growth that survivors experience when they are able to access good practice specialist services, it will want to support the amazing courage males show by breaking their silence to recover from the sexual crimes - done to them - as children or adults.

For tickets to the VictimFocus launch visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/victimfocus-academy-launch-conference-bradford-tickets-52264396216

VictimFocus: https://www.victimfocus.org.uk

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