survivors manchester

Involving Male Survivors


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

From the founder of the organisation, to those within the staff team; from the volunteers to the board and beyond to our Ambassadors; male survivors really do have a voice in the strategic development and operational delivery of services and interventions. Male survivor voices can be heard in our campaigning, education and lobbying; whereas in our imagery and designs, male survivors are highly visible.

Since we opened the doors in 2009, its been vital to the organisation that male survivors are front and centre – the first services we offered to male survivors were designed by male survivors for male survivors; and as the years have gone by and we’ve introduce new services, projects or programmes, male survivors have stayed involved in our growth.

There are a number of ways in which male survivors can be involved:

Expert Reference Group


Right now, the ERG are hosting open discussions on survivorship experiences such as Young Peoples, Prisons, LGBTQIA+, Disability & Accessibility and Equality & Diversity.

You can find full details of the role of our Expert Reference Group below. For anyone interested in contributing to our ERG relating to the experiences mentioned above, or if you would like to attend one of our ERG engagement events held every three months for any survivor, get in touch by emailing [email protected]

Whilst We Are Survivors has many stakeholders, those male survivors that use or have used our services are one of the key stakeholders we count on.

How do we know what we’re doing is right? What about when we get it wrong? How do we keep meeting the needs of our beneficiaries?

Well, we do it through our Expert Reference Group (ERG), which is a common way that many health organisations or change makers ensure that those that are affected by it’s output are front of centre of decisions.

Information about our ERG members coming soon here

Originally, we developed an Expert Advisory Panel to ensure our CEO and Board of Trustees had a way of learning what male survivors want. Whilst this was a great success and the panel really made a positive impact on the development of services and the direction of travel the organisation took, it involved a great commitment from those on the panel and day-to-day life could easily get in the way.

So with support and insight by some of the founder panel members, we decided to take the panel in a slightly different direction and use an established ERG model.

The ERG members are drawn from past and present service users, representing the widest possible spread of demographics, the broadest lived experience of sexual abuse trauma, and vast of experiences of engaging in our services; all to give the Executive Leadership, Leadership Team and Trustees the best possible understanding of how effective we are in meeting the needs of those we serve.

ERG members serve a term of one year, with both co-chair’s serving a term of two years, but can be re-elected by the council for no more than three terms of office.

The ERG meets bi-monthly to discuss the organisation, it’s services, the environment it exists in, and the current opinions by ERG members on the needs of male survivors in Greater Manchester and beyond. The Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer take it in turns, on an alternating basis, to join the meeting to provide information to the council on the numbers of survivors using the services and any key developments or events/campaigns from the organisation.

The purpose of the ERG meetings is to share knowledge and create a feedback loop between the two parties to create one bigger plan.

An engagement event is held every 3 months, hosted by the ERG members, open to any individual accessing the services as a way to ensure that we share all our knowledge widely.


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).

An image of a male survivor

The Expert Reference Group is chaired by Callum, leading the direction of the meeting and ensuring that it is both productive and inclusive. To ensure that We Are Survivors can get into more detail with certain topics, sub-groups maybe developed and convened at times or permanently hosted.

An image of prison gates

The Prisons Group is chaired Michael, focusing on the work of the OUT Spoken talking therapy service, the ISVA service in prisons, and ensuring that our services are accessible to prisoners and those being released or engaged in probation.

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