James Shane, who runs Shane's Hair Studio on Castle Road, experienced sexual abuse as a child. He was groomed and abused by a female babysitter and at the time he sought help but was not believed. It took Shane more than 30 years to seek help again.
"I know that I kept it to myself for probably about 30 years and now I feel I’ve got to this point where I have this burning sort of feeling inside that I need to talk to people," he said.
When James reported his experiences to the Police, he was referred to IDAS for emotional and practical support.
IDAS run a sexual violence service for anyone who has been affected by sexual violence or abuse, whether recent or historical, as well as offering emotional support, practical advice and guidance.
James said: “My support with IDAS was absolutely amazing. The staff are so understanding they make you feel at home straight away with a warm welcome and make you at ease so you can open up to them, they’re like real people.”
It is estimated that around 12,000 men are raped in the UK each year and 70,000 are sexually abused or assaulted. IDAS want to make it easier for people to seek support by training barbers who can effectively signpost into the service.
The Barbershop Ambassador scheme seeks to recruit barbers from across North Yorkshire to join the community of barbers taking a stand against sexual violence.
The barbers will receive full training and resources, helping to reduce the stigma and encourage people to seek help and support.
James wants other people to feel confident in seeking support from IDAS and calls on fellow barbers to support IDAS by attending their training sessions so that they feel confident displaying IDAS posters, talking to their clients and signposting anyone affected for support.
Sam Beckett, Lead ISVA at IDAS said: “We know that sexual abuse can have a profound impact, affecting people’s mental health and their relationships. It can be difficult to know where to go for support if you have been affected.
“Barbers are in a great position to help us raise awareness of the support available to men who have been affected by sexual abuse. Many Barbers have great relationships with their clients, and we hope that displaying our posters might spark conversations and encourage men to seek support."
IDAS have Independent Sexual Violence Advisors who are trained to provide emotional and practical support to anyone affected by sexual violence or abuse, whether it is recent or historic. The service is available whether someone wants to report to the Police or not. The service is free and confidential. Anyone affected can call the helpline on 03000110110 or visit the website www.idas.org.uk