Child abuse is a men’s health issue

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has thrown aspotlight on the sexual abuse of males and the long term impacts on men’s lives.

International Men’s Health Week begins on June 8 and Griffith University will be hostinga symposium aimed at Improving Responses to Men Sexually Abused in Childhood.

Thursday 12th June 2014, 9 — 4.30pm
QCA Lecture Theatre S05_2.04,
226 Grey St, Southbank, Brisbane

The symposium will be hosted by Professor Patrick O’Leary from the Griffith HealthInstitute and Dr Gary Foster from Living Well. Professor O’Leary has been workingwith abuse survivors around the world for over twenty years and has done consultancywork for the Royal Commission.

Dr Foster has been instrumental in the last ten years in setting up services for male abusesurvivors in Australia. He has used innovative methods such as internet applications toreach out to survivors globally.

Griffith University are pleased to confirm that Justice Peter McClellan, Chair of the RoyalCommission, will provide the opening address, followed by a keynote address by DrDavid Lisak from the University of Massachusetts.

Professor O’Leary and Dr Foster have become increasingly concerned that sexual abuseappears to have been sidelined as a key factor in men’s health.

“Considering the over-representation of men who have experienced child sexual abuse inmental health, substance abuse and prison populations, I am perplexed why men’s healthpolicy and initiatives have barely mentioned child sexual abuse,” said Professor O’Leary.

A vulnerability to suicide

“Evidence suggests that men sexually abused in childhood are particularly vulnerable tosuicide, reporting suicidal ideation at 10 times the rate of a community sample ofAustralian men; with 46% reporting at least one attempted suicide. The death by suicideof 34 men sexually abused as schoolboys by two clergymen in Ballarat, Victoriahighlights the impact of sexual abuse has on men’s lives.”

“This Royal Commission has highlighted that we have a lot of work to do,” said Dr Foster.“The challenge we face is to reach out, engage and develop, practical, effective support formen, their partners and families, whether they were abused in Institutional, community orfamilial settings. We hope the Symposium will be another step in improving ourcommunity’s responses to sexual abuse.”

Survivor groups and support agencies are expected to attend the symposium.