A CHARITY in York which supports survivors of domestic and sexual violence is calling for more men and minorities to speak up, and offering advice and support through WhatsApp and real-time messaging services.

York Press:

Sam Beckett is an independent sexual violence advocate with IDAS, and said newer forms of communication made some people feel more comfortable, but were also more convenient.

She said: “For some clients, that’s brilliant, we can do that or a video session on their lunch breaks, they can contact us whenever it’s good for them.

“We have had quite a few clients who just want email or WhatsApp sessions. We get a lot of students who come in or get referred now and go away for the summer and will just do video messaging. Some clients have gone on holiday and are waiting for the outcome from court or police and can contact us that way if that’s what they want. It just makes us more available.”

Sam said the majority of men who spoke to IDAS were aged between 20 and 60, and largely contacted the charity to report historic incidents.

She said: “We can help talk to them about their options. They had no choice over what happened, but moving forward I think it’s really important they get choices and that don’t necessarily mean going for prosecution. It could mean counselling, therapy, just having someone to speak to and tell them what’s happened, that that first step or phone call lays that all out to you.

“We’re also looking into how best to support people with learning difficulties or disabilities. Supporting them through the criminal justice system, but also just supporting them, making sure there are no groups of people who are getting missed.”