Male victims of rape and sexual abuse are set to receive counselling and advice as part of a new £500,000 fund launched by the Government.
Police figures show there were 2,164 rape and sexual assaults against males aged 13 or over in the 12 months to November. There could be as many as 72,000 male victims of sexual offences each year, according to a recent crime survey for England and Wales.
Minister Damian Green said the fund will also help "historic" victims who were under the age of 13 at the time. He warned male rape is still a taboo subject and cases of sexual assault often go unreported.
He said: "We believe around 12 per cent of rapes are against men. Yet many choose not to come forward, either to report the crime or seek the support they need. I am determined to help break the silence on a subject still seen as a taboo."
Duncan Craig of Survivors Manchester, which helps male victims of sexual abuse and rape, hopes the launch of the fund serves to kick-start a conversation about sexual violence so that "male victims are no longer ignored".
He added:"In the past, there has not been enough support in the UK for male victims or sexual violence. But in the future I would like to see both the government and society begin talking more openly about boys and men as victims and see us trying to make a positive change to pulling down those barriers that stop boys and men speaking up.
The justice ministry recently launched a campaign on social media using the hashtag #breakthesilence encouraging victims of sexual violence to come forward.