London sex abuse charity says few male victims report crime

Man with head in his hands Image copyright Press Association
Image caption Male victims of sexual abuse "face barriers" in reporting crime, says a report

A London charity says only 3.9% of sexual assaults are reported by male victims due to a lack of specialist help and perceived stigma.

Conservative London Assembly member Kemi Badenoch is calling for the Mayor Boris Johnson to do more to tackle the under-reporting of the crime.

The Metropolitan Police recorded the highest number of assaults in the UK between 2010 and 2014.

The force said it had officers trained to help male victims of sexual assault.

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A report called Silent Suffering has highlighted a number of concerns, specifically that men felt less able than women to report being victims of sexual assault and rape to police.

It says this is due to "a multitude of social, procedural and emotional barriers" which prevent male victims from coming forward and being referred to support services.

The London-based charity Survivors UK which helps male victims of sex abuse, had its funding cut by the mayor's office in March.

A spokesman for the mayor's office for policing and crime said it was due to hold a special conference next week to improve services for all victims, including men, of sexual assault and rape.

Reporting of sexual assaults

  • A report commissioned by the Greater London Authority (GLA) Conservatives in February found 20% of all rapes and sexual assaults are reported to police.
  • Survivors UK carried out interviews with more than 500 male victims of sexual assault between 2010 and 2014 and found 3.9% had reported the crime to police
  • Between 2010 and 2014 there were 26,483 male victims of sexual assault or rape recorded in the UK
  • In London 3,748 incidents affecting male victims were recorded by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)
  • Reports to the MPS rose from 561 in 2010 to 1,109 in 2014
  • The Crown Prosecution Service's 2013-2014 report into sexual offences was called the Violence against Women and Girls Crime Report, although 16% of the victims were male.

Mrs Badenoch has called for Boris Johnson to host a summit and develop a strategy to specifically assist male victims of sexual offences.

One proposal put forward in the Silent Suffering report is that Boris Johnson should lobby the government to amend the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to include male victims, as has been done in the US.

At present, a woman cannot in law "rape" a man owing to the definition of the crime.

The Metropolitan Police said it was aware that rape remained "significantly under-reported... not least by male victims".

The force added it is working with relevant support agencies to increase reporting.

Survivor's story

Image copyright John Lennon
Image caption Rape victim John Lennon says he was "lucky" to have been seen by a policeman with specialist training in sexual assault

Rape victim John Lennon was violently attacked in his Manchester home by a man he allowed to stay as a guest for a few days.

He said the attack left him needing plastic surgery to repair scarring to his face and his genitals.

"I was in and out of consciousness," he said. "I got away after hitting him over the head with a hammer.

"I ran, I went to a local park and hid in the bushes."

Mr Lennon said he was so traumatised by the attack it took him 48 hours to report the crime to police.

He said he had been "lucky" to be seen by a male police officer who had been given specialist training to work with victims of sexual assault.

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