We’re a group of health professionals, researchers and people with lived experience of traumatic life events who are passionate about ensuring survivors are in the driving seat of future sexual violence research.
Rabiya Majeed-Ariss is a health researcher who has worked in the area of sexual violence for the past five years.
Cath White is a medical doctor and is the Clinical Director of Saint Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) which support’s survivors of sexual assaults. Saint Mary's SARC was the first service of its kind in the country, established in 1986, and remains the largest site, sitting within Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.
Filippo Varese is a clinical psychologist who researches the mental health impact of sexual trauma and the Director of the Complex Trauma and Resilience Research Unit (a collaboration between The University of Manchester and Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust).
Eleanor Longden is a survivor, mental health activist and researcher in the NHS.
Lowri Marsh and Elizabeth Yule are University of Manchester students undertaking a one-year internship on the project.
All of the team are donating their time to this worthwhile project, without any funding for their roles.
Approximately one in ten people in the UK have experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16. This means over four million people in the UK have been affected by these experiences.
It has also been estimated that one in 20 children in the UK have suffered from some form of childhood sexual abuse.
Living with the consequences of sexual violence can have a significant physical and emotional impact on survivors, including:
- post-traumatic stress and other mental health difficulties;
- inability to work or study;
- sexually transmitted infections;
- and unwanted pregnancies.
Despite this impact there are fundamental uncertainties around the best way to support people who have experienced sexual violence. We simply do not know if available services fully meet survivor’s recovery needs.
We will work with an organisation called the James Lind Alliance (JLA) to establish a Sexual Violence Priority Setting Partnership (PSP).The JLA has previously conducted similar projects for many conditions. These PSPs have led to cutting-edge research that has improved the lives of countless people.
Using social media and online surveys, we will reach out to survivors, their families and health professionals around the UK to identify important questions about the best way to support people who have experienced sexual violence.
We will then bring ‘experts by experience’ (sexual violence survivors) and ‘experts by profession’ (such as doctors and psychological therapists who work with survivors) together to agree on the most urgent and important questions that future sexual violence research needs to address.
This information will be used to form a Top Ten list of the most important unanswered questions that future research should examine. These research priorities will directly influence the decisions of major UK funders, such as the National Institute of Health Research.
We have already raised half of the money needed for this project through contributions from The University of Manchester and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. However, we need more funds to ensure that we will be able to involve survivors in this important project.
Unfortunately, there are no large national charities in the UK that specifically support projects related to sexual violence or sexual abuse, so our options for support are limited. PSPs conducted in the past have traditionally been funded by charities for specific problems or medical conditions.
We need your support to help us to undertake this important work.
Together we will improve the way UK health services support people affected by sexual violence.
Together we will understand what survivors need to support their recovery.
And together we will identify important unanswered questions about the best way we can care for survivors.
Your support today, no matter how small, will enable us to undertake this important work. Please pledge what you can, to help us improve the future for sexual violence survivors.
Whilst health professionals can often take part in this kind of project as part of their day job, many survivors will not be able to engage in the PSP unless we can cover their travel expenses and other costs they will incur, such as childcare and loss of income. The involvement of survivors at these meetings is crucial to the PSP – this is where the thousands of online survey responses we receive will be reviewed, and the expertise of survivors will be essential for the project to meet its objectives.
Your donations will go towards supporting travel expenses and other costs that are required for these meetings to take place.
If things really take off and we raise more than our target, we’ll use the extra funds to reach a broader number of survivors. This will be done by employing a lived experience researcher at rate of £10/hour. This member of the team could work on developing innovative ways of reaching survivors and relevant organisations across the UK as well as novel ways of disseminating the PSP priorities in such a way that we will reach the broadest number of interested parties.
We will share weekly updates during the fundraising period with everyone who has made a pledge. Once we begin undertaking the work using the campaign funds we will also share minutes from regular meetings with everyone who has made a pledge. Pledgers will be given opportunity to opt out of these updates if they wish.
Hey, we have some fab rewards to thank everyone who donates, whatever the amount you might give. Check them out.
We also have a webpage hosted here in the Saint Mary’s SARC website
You don't need to give money to help us succeed! Please share this project with anyone you think would support us – on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, by email, telephone, in a chat over the fence or on your blog!
In fact, share it with everyone you know as the more people who know about it, the more likely we are to make this work out brilliantly.
And we know we said you don't need to give money to help us, but we'd love it if you did!
Please sponsor us now and help make this happen.