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Major conference aims to make a difference for men and boys

Hundreds of delegates from across the UK will come together at The Lighthouse, Poole, on Monday 14 November for the Safer Poole International Men’s Day Conference.

AFC Bournemouth support IMD conference

The conference, which has been organised by the Safer Poole Partnership in association with AFC Bournemouth and the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, aims to raise awareness of gender identity and stereotypes, domestic and sexual abuse, and transgender issues. 

This year’s headline guest speaker is Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, who came to prominence as a flamboyant boxing manager and promoter. Kellie made the brave decision to reveal that she is now living as a woman, and has already taken great strides in promoting a greater awareness and understanding of transgender issues. 

Following the success of 2015’s conference which looked at tackling sexual violence against women and girls, this year’s conference will celebrate International Men’s Day which takes place across the world on 19 November. Delegates will be asked to consider what action we can all take against some of the key issues affecting men and boys, including our collective tolerance of violence against men and boys, gender stereotypes in today’s society and the high male suicide rate – figures released by The Samaritans in May this year suggest that suicide rates in men in the UK and the Republic of Ireland are more than three times higher than in women.

Other guest speakers include journalist and TV presenter Martin Daubney, who will be speaking about ‘porn safeguarding’ and pornography’s role in sexual consent for young people. CEO of SurvivorsUK Keith Best will be speaking about supporting male survivors of rape and sexual abuse, and chairman of Mankind Mark Brooks will be joined on stage by domestic abuse survivor Ian McNichol to tell his story of domestic abuse at the hands of his ex-wife.

The conference will be officially opened by AFC Bournemouth Chairman Jeff Mostyn, who will introduce a short film commissioned especially for the event featuring James McVey of The Vamps. 

Anthi Minhinnick, Community Safety Manager at Safer Poole recognises the importance of such an event. “Our goal is to empower men to feel that they can seek support for mental health issues. We want men experiencing domestic abuse to feel that they can report it, and that their report will be taken seriously. We want men to feel that there is no stigma out there if they disclose sexual abuse at any point in their life, and that there is support available locally and nationally. We want young men to feel that they can stand up to the peer pressure that is so prevalent on social media and television.”

AFC Bournemouth Chairman Jeff Mostyn said: “AFC Bournemouth are proud to be supporting this year’s Safer Poole International Men’s Day Conference, and I am honoured to be asked to open what will be both an educating and empowering event.

“The conference will address and raise awareness of some key issues in society; ones which we wholeheartedly support as a football club and have experience of dealing with.

“These issues should be talked about and tackled head on, and the conference is a great way of encouraging men to do just that.”

Colin Pipe, Acting Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner said: “I am pleased to have been able to provide the funding to Safer Poole to run this conference for the benefit of people across Dorset. Last year’s event focused on violence against women but it is important to recognise that men can be victims too. One in six men will suffer from domestic abuse at some point in their life, with men twice as like to not report the abuse to anyone. The event is shaping up to be a huge success and I hope to see as many people as possible attend.”

There are still tickets available for the event, which is free of charge. Register for a free ticket by going to https://poole-imd.eventbrite.co.uk. For any other enquiries and information, please email the conference organisers at safer@poole.gov.uk. The conference will open at 9:15am for a 9:45 start, and runs until 1:45pm. 

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