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Involving Male Survivors

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If survivors of sexual abuse are the lifeblood of We Are Survivors, then the involvement of male survivors in the organisation is it’s beating heart.

The very roots of our organisation are in involving male survivors, from the founder of the organisation to the 40% of male survivors within the workforce, and let’s absolutely not forget male survivors who are our volunteers or Ambassadors… there is no disputing that male survivors really do have a strong and powerful voice in the strategic development and operational direction of services and interventions.

  • Male survivor voices can be heard in our campaigning
  • Male survivor voices are in our education
  • Male survivor voices are in our lobbying efforts
  • Male survivors images are in our awareness raising

Since we opened the doors in 2009, it’s been vital to the core of the organisation that male survivors are always front and centre – the first services we offered were designed BY male survivors FOR male survivors. As the years have gone by, as the needs of male survivors grows and changes, and as we introduce new services, projects or programmes, our Executive Team have male survivors by their side as we move through the challenges of growth.

Male survivors will always be centre stage and when we say male survivors, we mean ALL male survivors… as only then will we make our vision of a society where no male survivor is left behind a reality.

Expert Reference Group

Since opening the doors in 2009, We Are Survivors has always has a number of male survivors to consult with to help ensure that the projects, services and interventions are male survivor-focused. The ability to consult with male survivors means we can often answer the questions of how do we know what we’re doing is right? or what do we do when we get it wrong? and importantly, how do we keep meeting the needs of our beneficiaries?

Whilst we were always able to consult male survivors, in 2018 we formalised this consultation ability with the introduction of the ERG (Expert Reference Group), a group of current and ex-service users/clients who volunteer their time to provide the CEO and others with a sounding board, guidance and expertise in meeting the needs of male survivors.

Many organisations who deliver some kind of health or wellbeing service, whether that is in the Charity sector or in NHS, and they are usually referred to as ‘Service User Group’, ‘Patient Experience Group’ or ‘Lived Experience Panel’. Involving those who utilise the services an organisation delivers is vital to a healthy and client-focused organisation.

Our ERG model has been through a number of changes, evolving to ensure that its consistently meeting the needs of the organisation as it grows and as society becomes more familiar with the subject of male victimhood/male survivorship.

The current ERG model is as follows:

  • The maximum number of ERG members is 14
  • 12 members of the ERG are drawn from individuals who have used the services but are no longer accessing services
  • 2 members of the ERG are drawn from individuals who are currently engaged in accessing services
  • ERG meets once a quarter for a half day ‘Board Meeting’ in which an agenda is set and time allocated for discussions
  • ERG members serve a term of one year, with the ability to be re-elected by majority vote for up to 4 terms
  • 1 of the ERG Members from the past-client pool is deemed Chair
  • 1 of the ERG Members is deemed Vice Chair

Each ERG member adheres to a Confidentiality Policy, a Terms of Reference, and the Nolan Principles.

Each ERG member undertakes training in Safeguarding Level 1, Committee Management, Basics of Charity Finance, and other appropriate training courses which are all funded by We Are Survivors.

Each ERG member is a volunteer and therefore is not paid for their time. However, all travel costs and other volunteering costs are reimbursed by We Are Survivors, ensuring that no ERG member is out of pocket for their time given.

In order to ensure that the widest possible client group can have access to the ERG to provide feedback and pass on ideas, an ‘Open House’ is hosted once every 3 months.

We Are Survivors are incredibly proud and grateful to the ERG for their care, compassion,. challenge and support they have given over the last 5+ years.

Information about our ERG members coming soon here

Interested in being an ERG Member?

Remember all those years you believed your voice didn’t matter? Well it did and it does! Not only does it matter but it could help create change for your fellow survivors out there in the wider world, many of whom also believe they have no voice. The Expert Reference Group (ERG) exists to strengthen the collective voice of survivors and ensure that your voice is heard. We are currently on the look-out for more voices to join this inspirational group. Like yourself, ERG members are all ‘Experts-by-Experience’.

  • Your role on the ERG will take up a maximum of 2-3 hours per month.
  • All expenses will be reimbursed.
  • Full ERG Meetings will take place for 1/2 a day (3 – 4 hours) every 3 months.

As an ERG member you will be representing yourself, your fellow survivors, and the organisation, having the opportunity to attend events, speak on behalf of other survivors, and to lend your opinion to current matters on policymaking. You will also have your say on We Are Survivors’ charitable governance and how we can improve the services we offer. Our organisation is always open to new ideas and constructive feedback, and the ERG plays a central in this way.

Current members of the ERG say the following about what being a member has given them:

ERG Member 1
Through the ERG, I have been given the opportunity to use my voice on behalf of those male Survivors who are yet to find theirs. Everyone deserves to be heard, and it is an honour to ensure that is the case.
I am proud to work alongside a group of fellow Survivors to ensure ‘No male Survivor left behind’, and by association
‘No male Survivor left unheard’.

ERG Member 2
Being part of the ERG makes me feel like people really do care and want to work towards helping survivors. It makes me feel like even though society is far from the most supportive yet,
at least someone has our back, and being able to contribute in any way to making sure that help keeps getting better and better is an honour.

ERG Member 3
Being part of the ERG has made me realise how much hard work goes in to making We Are Survivors such a supportive, fabulous organisation.

How to apply to be an ERG Member:

To apply for a role on the ERG, please write or record a short message expressing an interest in joining and email it to: [email protected] or phone 0161 236 2182 and speak to Christopher, George or Luke. If you are sending an email, please put the words ‘I am interested in joining the ERG’ in the subject line and also, please tell us your preferred methods of communication (including WhatsApp) and any accessibility needs you may have.

Volunteering

For some, volunteering is a great way to improve skills, develop talents and gain experience that can be useful in employment; whilst for others, it can be a way of giving back to communities or being part of an organisation or project attached to a cause that is important to them. It is not uncommon for many people that use our support services to want to give back and volunteer some of their time to help. We always welcome any offer of help and support and we will try our best to match people’s skills and experiences to a volunteering role. We may not have a role suitable or even available at that time and so we will always keep people on file and let them know as soon as a position becomes available.

The type of volunteer roles available at We Are Survivors are:

  • Peer-Group Volunteer
  • Community Support Volunteer
  • ERG Member
  • Break The Silence Events Volunteer

As we reach further across Greater Manchester and raise more awareness, then we will develop more opportunities to engage volunteers so keep your eyes peeled. If you want to find other volunteering opportunities, then check out the national volunteering database at Do-It where you will find thousands of adverts and organisations looking for help.

For more information on Volunteering, please give us a call (0161 236 2182).

Stakeholders and Funders

Helpline: 0808 800 5005

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