More male victims of sexual abuse seeking help and more reports of abuse linked to dating app meetings

The BBC has reported that statistics received from Safeline, an independent and non-discriminatory charity that provides specialist, tailored support for anyone affected by sexual abuse or rape, has revealed that it has received over 7,000 calls to its male helpline in 2021 which was more than double the number they received in 2020.

The Chief Executive of Safeline, Neil Henderson spoke to Radio 1’s Newsbeat show and said it is estimated that 1 in 6 men have been sexually abused or assaulted yet very few of those victims seek help.

Henderson praised publicity of sexual abuse and assault on males and specifically highlighted shows such as ‘Four Lives’ which recently aired on BBC. It told the stories of the four young men who were raped and assaulted then killed by Stephen Port, who was found guilty and jailed for life in 2015.

The helpline saw a 50% increase in calls to the male helpline in the week after the show was aired.

It was also confirmed that there was a significant rise in people who called the helpline advising that they had been abused by someone they had met through a dating website or app.

Henderson said that more needs to be done to protect these people, not just in respect of the assaults and abuse taking place, but also by helping them have the confidence to report the abuse without the fear of being judged or not believed.

The BBC also spoke to Alex Feis-Bryce, who runs Survivors UK, a support organisation for men, boys and non-binary people across the county who have been victims of abuse. He has his own personal experiences of abuse. He agrees that there has been an increase in reports of abuse where people have met through dating websites and apps. He supports the idea of increased safety features in such apps to help protect users.

He also suggests that an improvement in sex education in schools in necessary, specifically focusing on consent. We have previously commented on the plans in Ireland to address the teaching of consent as part of sex education – see here.


Nicola Aspinwall,

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