SCOTLAND’S only child sexual abuse service for male survivors is struggling to keep up with demand.

Speak Out Scotland (SOS), based at Port Dundas, has just been awarded £146,595 from the Big Lottery Fund to help fund its work for the next five years.

But staff said their work is only the tip of the iceberg and the charity could be helping dozens of more men.

Julie Harkins, Project Development Worker, said: “It was really after the Jimmy Savile scandal broke that we started seeing more men come forward and now we also have the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry so the topic is being discussed and brought more into the public consciousness.

“We already have a waiting list for initial assessments and counselling which is a concern given the urgency required to assist male survivors who are vulnerable to problems such as suicidal tendencies, self- harm, addiction and mental health problems.

“Delay in accessing services and support can be fatal.”

SOS was set up eight years ago by a group of male survivors of child sexual abuse who recognised that their unique needs were not being met.

Now those men form the board of the charity, which has two full time counsellors and Julie on its staff.

Men are referred to SOS by social work, other charities, the NHS and self-referrals, which means the helpline is always ringing.

The organisation currently works with 32 men but has ambitions to support many more.

It offers unlimited one-to-one counselling, a support group, advocacy, training for organisations and an information line.

They also work to help men through substance abuse issues that have arisen as a result of their childhood experiences.

Julie said: “We have a waiting list and we know there are so many more men out there who could benefit from our help.

“We would definitely encourage them to come forward as we never leave them just on a waiting list - they are offered help while they are waiting for counselling.”

Among the more difficult stories, Julie, who has been a community worker for 20 years, said there are success stories that let the team know they are on the right path.

One man who uses SOS’s services, who asked not to be identified, said the charity had saved him.

He was abused in a children’s home in Glasgow after being taken into care at the age of 14.

Now a father-of-three, he had never spoken of his abuse until the news about Jimmy Savile’s sex crimes broke.

The 51-year-old said: “I had been to other organisations about my PTSD and my mental health. I was on quite a bit of medication and having therapy but no one could get a grip on my symptoms.

“When I decided to come forward and speak to the police and give them evidence, my mental health became so bad the police called in Rape Crisis.

“They explained they don’t help men but referred me to SOS who got in touch within 10 hours and I quickly knew they were made for me.”

The NHS had been only able to offer him 12 weeks of counselling while SOS gives open ended counselling.

SOS also provided him with an advocacy worker who was there every step of the way through nine months of police and Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry interviews.

He took part in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy, which he said made him relive his trauma.

The dad has attempted suicide six times and says without SOS he “would not be here”.

He added: “The therapy SOS gives you goes right into your core. I was subject to three separate attacks in the children’s home that have changed my life and without SOS I would be dead.

“It came down to two choices: get help or leave this planet with the second one being my number one choice.

“Now I am striding through my life.”

Big Lottery Fund Scotland chairwoman, Maureen McGinn, said: “I am delighted that Speak Out Scotland has been successful in securing a Big Lottery Fund grant.

“The funding will make a big difference where it is needed most and I wish Speak Out Scotland every success as it goes on to develop and expand its project for the benefit of their local community.”