LimeCulture Community Interest Company (CIC) is delighted to be working in partnership with the Male Survivors Partnership UK, which includes Mankind, Safeline, Survivors Manchester and Survivors UK, to develop distinct service standards for working with males who have experienced sexual violence.
Commissioners and funders are increasingly recognising the importance of service providers being able to properly evidence the quality of their services. As part of this measure of quality, it is routinely expected that service providers show that they can meet and maintain the relevant service standards for their particular sector.
Service standards are an important element of service management. They help clarify expectations for service users and employees, enable performance management, and support client satisfaction. Over time, service standards contribute to enhancing coherence across the range of services that achieve them. By setting national benchmarks, we can begin to ensure equitable standards of service provision between service providers and across different geographical locations by driving up standards of performance through effective monitoring.
For the specialist sexual violence sector, there are currently two separate national service standards that have been created by two distinct umbrella organisations (Rape Crisis England & Wales and The Survivors Trust) for use by their member organisations. However, these service standards are not available to non-members of these organisations. Furthermore, neither of these service standards are specific to the needs of males and therefore do not reflect or recognise the distinct provision that is required in order to properly support males in the aftermath of rape, sexual assault or sexual exploitation.
Due to the inadequacy of these existing service standards for services supporting males, it is currently not possible to provide evidence of the quality of their services by meeting and maintaining specific service standards that relate to and provide a benchmark for this important specialism.
In light of this gap, and recognising that they are currently unable to evidence the quality of their service provision for males, four specialist organisations providing support to males approached LimeCulture CIC to request they work in partnership to create a set of new service standards that relate specifically to the provision of care and support for male victims and survivors of sexual violence.
The purpose of the new service standards for supporting males is to:
- Provide a quality benchmark for services supporting males,
- Create equitable service provision between providers and across geographical locations for males who have experience sexual violence (by eliminating a postcode lottery in service provision),
- Continue to drive up standards of service provision through effective monitoring.
The new service standards will be wide ranging and will benefit:
- Service users – who can expect a level of service that is clearly described,
- Organisations – who can monitor their own performance against the quality benchmark (i.e. the service standards),
- Commissioners – who can be satisfied that the services they commission meet and maintain a set of standards that are bespoke to working with males.
To this end, it is crucial that the new service standards for supporting males will be evidence based. This will mean they will be informed by
- research literature in this specialist area,
- service user’s involvement and
- specialist service provider experts who can share their experience of what works well in relation to supporting males.
The new service standards will also acknowledge that in addition to the small number of male only specialist services, there is an increasing number of support services who provide specialist support for both males and females. It is an important principle that a male seeking support following a sexual assault, should have equitable support, whether they access a male only services or whether they access a service that also provides for females too. Ideally, the standards of service should be the same regardless of where the male access support. To this end, these new service standards will address also address the provision of service to male provided by services who also support females.
Services supporting males who would like further information about the development of the new service standards can contact either LimeCulture directly or any one of organisations that make up the UK Male Survivors Partnership- we’d be happy to share our plans with you!