A GROUP that provides help and support to victims of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse met in York to mark its 25th anniversary and discuss its future.

Survive, a charity based in Priory Street, provides a range of services from counselling of abuse victims to education of young people on issues such as consent.

With eight part-time members of staff they provide these services across North Yorkshire.

The meeting took place at the Monkbar Hotel on Wednesday night. Survive staff were there to explain what they do, as were representatives of other local charities and a number of guests including the Lord Mayor Councillor Sonja Crisp and York Central MP Rachael Maskell, who also spoke to the assembled crowd.

The charity receive funding from the Lottery, as well as the Ministry of Justice, but key to their work is support from the public.

Rachael Maskell said: "The Ministry of Justice may be making cuts at the next comprehensive spending review, but this funding should be protected. This money for Survive is such an investment, not only in individual lives but in society."

One statistic that shocked the room was that small universities with fewer than 10,000 students report up to five rapes a week. In York, a city of more than 20,000 students, this makes universities a key focus of the charity.

Another focus, addressed by a service launched by the charity earlier this year, is male victims of sexual abuse. The NSPCC estimate that one in 20 boys suffer childhood sexual assault.

Dani Wardman, service manager at Survive, said: "We don't have an average client. There isn't a 'typical' survivor. Working with the local football team will hopefully help us raise awareness of male survivors. I think we can reach a lot of men that way."

Working in partnerships with other local services such as YACRO was identified as an important strategy. Ms Wardman added: "We are trying to grow awareness, we are trying to grow partnerships.

"The situation is not going to change unless we change something."

Survive's work is designed to help 'victims' see themselves rather as 'survivors'.

To find out more about the work that Survive do, visit survive-northyorks.org.uk