We Are Survivors, formerly known as Survivors Manchester, a leading male sexual abuse charity based in Greater Manchester, has announced today that they have been awarded a contract by NHS England to provide trauma-informed talking therapy to survivors in custody across fifteen prisons in the North West. This news comes as the charity celebrates its 15th birthday, which began on February 5th, 2024.
The OUT Spoken Talking Therapy Service, developed by the organization, will be delivered to prisoners who are dealing with their own experiences of victimhood and survivorship. Many of these individuals have never spoken about their past traumatic experiences.
In the previous year, the OUT Spoken service received over 950 referrals, with 61% coming directly from prisoners seeking change.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Duncan Craig OBE, expressed his pride in being awarded this contract by NHS England, which secures the service for the next 5 to 7 years. The organization has been working diligently over the past decade to establish a presence in the prison system and has supported the prison service and governors since the widespread disclosure of childhood sexual abuse following the ITV documentary on Saville.
As a survivor himself, Duncan understands the weight of holding onto a secret for many years. He was not surprised when survivors who had remained silent for over 20 years suddenly found the courage to speak out when the national conversation about the long-term impact of sexual abuse began:
“There were so many men and women in our prison system who were silenced at the time of their abuse and then pushed to the edges of society where no one looked. When the national conversation about the long-term impact of sexual abuse began, they saw an opportunity to finally get rid of the secret they were carrying and speak out. This was something that had not happened in the prison estate before in such a way.”
Since the inception of the OUT Spoken service at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the organization has delivered 9494 hours of therapy, engaged 2334 prisoners in support, and provided 30 training sessions to experienced and new prison staff on working with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, rape, and sexual exploitation.
Alison Lloyd, Criminal Justice Services Director at We Are Survivors, has been leading the OUT Spoken project from the start. She recently developed a therapeutic education group that helps prisoners understand the impact of trauma on themselves and others. She states:
“It has been a privilege to be a part of the HMP Deerbolt pilot and work alongside phenomenal and inspirational colleagues. The young men who attended the program showed us all how important these spaces are if we are going to give people a second chance to change their lives. Their bravery and trust is something I will personally never forget.”
A report on the pilot group at HMP/YOI Deerbolt has just been released and can be downloaded from the organization’s online publication library at www.issuu.com/survivorsmanchester/docs/was_deerboltreport.
This news has been distributed by https://pressat.co.uk/.