Counselling agencies across the northeast have received provincial funding to establish programs for men who have been sexually abused — the first time the Ministry of the Attorney General has ever pledged funding to services specifically for this group.
One of the agencies to receive the funding is the Sudbury Counselling Centre.
"There wasn't anything specific in Sudbury, so we were very happy when the ministry decided provincially to allocate funding for these services," said Francine Boudreau, program director.
Another group in the northeast receiving funding is the Nipissing Community Counselling Centre in North Bay.
The funding means the centre can offer free, individual counselling and offer a more comfortable environment for men to come forward with their stories, said organization spokesperson Christine Redden.
"They require a place and a time where they can work through what has happened to them," she said.
"That kind of work is best put into context in a community agency."
Because the program comes from provincial coffers, the funding will have to be re-assessed on an annual basis.
Boudreau said she's optimistic the funding will keep coming.
"My understanding was that this was a three-year pilot project," she said.
"Obviously the fact that the ministry put that money into community agencies indicates to me that they are aware there is a need."
The program funding across the northeast is up for renewal at the end of March 2013.
"So far, we're at about 36-37 men that have requested services, so we're quite pleased with that because … we just started the program," Boudreau said. "We're still trying to reach out to the community and let them know that they can come here."