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Baby Reindeer leads to increase in calls from male victims of abuse – here’s how to get support

It's encouraging to see a show like Baby Reindeer having an impact on men who have been victims of abusive behaviour

By Alastair James

Richard Gadd in Baby Reindeer (Image: Netflix)
Richard Gadd in Baby Reindeer (Image: Netflix)

The charity, We Are Survivors. has reported a large increase in first-time calls to the service following the release of Baby Reindeer. The charity supports male (including trans and non-binary) survivors of sexual abuse, rape, and sexual exploitation.

Netflix’s series follows Donny (Richard Gadd) as he is stalked by Martha (Jessica Gunning). The series, partly based on Gadd’s experiences, also sees him sexually abused.

Posting on Instagram on Monday (13 May), at the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, the charity shared that 53% of all referrals in the first two weeks after Baby Reindeer‘s release cited the show as the reason for getting in touch.

That followed the charity posting several days earlier that since the show’s release, there had been an 80% increase in first-time callers asking about the support the charity offers. “Baby Reindeer is helping so many men have the confidence to break their silence,” the charity wrote at the time.

Speaking to Attitude about his experiences, Richard Gadd said he held back from openly discussing them due to “draconian old age ideas of masculinity.” He added: “I felt disempowered. I felt like it was a dent to my character. All these things that make you not want to walk into a room and tell people, I’m so over all that stuff now that it seems alien to me. But at the time I was ashamed, and that’s what kept me silent.”

It’s encouraging to see a show like Baby Reindeer having an impact on men who have been victims of abusive behaviour. Meanwhile, we must not forget that women are still disproportionately affected by abuse. In March 2023, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that to the year ending in March 2022 an estimated 2.3% of adults (1.1 million) – 3.3% of women (798,000), and 1.2% of men (275,000) – aged 16 years and over were victims of sexual assault (including attempts).

ONS data also indicates that a third of domestic abuse victims (751,000) are men. 5.7% or 1.38 million are women. The ManKind Initiative, a charity supporting male victims of domestic abuse, has reported that 58.9% of men who contacted its helpline have never spoken about their abuse anywhere before. 64% said they wouldn’t have called if the helpline wasn’t anonymous.

If you are experiencing abuse and are in need of support, here’s where you can go:

We Are Survivors. – 24/7 support line: 0808 500 2222 / Survivors UK – 020 3598 3898 / / one-to-one chat / Chat via SMS on
020 3322 1860
Samaritans – 116 123 / / online chat
Safeline – 0808 800 5005 / live chat
National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge – 24/7 freephone on 0808 2000 247
Rape Crisis England and Wales – 0808 500 2222 or use the online chat (both are free and 24/7)