Londoner recognised for support for gay men affected by domestic violence and chemsex

News item posted: 16 June 2016

As part of Men’s Health Week, here is Paul Doyle’s story on the support he has provided to gay men affected by domestic violence and chemsex.

Since overcoming substance misuse, Paul Doyle has remained drug-free and used his skills and experience to set up a 6-bed supported living project for gay men affected by domestic violence. The service still operates today, providing general advice and support.

As well as this, Paul has provided support to people affected by chemsex, described by the British Medical Journal as ‘intentional sex under the influence of psychoactive drugs, mostly among men who have sex with men.’

The service was designed based on a peer-led approach, meaning much of the support is provided by people who have experienced similar issues themselves and are therefore able to offer a wealth of advice.

Paul said: ‘Whilst providing support, I found that the most common barriers to accessing support experienced by people were being judged due to the link between sex and drug-taking; staff not understanding some terminology used by gay men; clients not knowing when to identify as an ‘addict’; and limited service opening times, with a lack of support at weekends.’

A previous service user at Turning Point’s Day Programme in Fulham, Paul overcame substance misuse over two years ago. Now he has been nominated for two National Diversity Awards for his contribution to establishing specialist services.

He has been shortlisted for his work in Housing and for being an LGBT Role Model.

In addition to this, Paul has trained a number of other services in same sex domestic violence and chemsex use.

He said: ‘After finding out about my nomination I was very moved that so many people had felt the project was worthy of such praise. I believe that the success of the project has much to do with the peer-led, person-centred approach, putting people first.

‘I am now hoping to establish a social enterprise which will provide counselling and support to people experiencing addiction and / or domestic violence within London.’

The National Diversity Awards will be held in Liverpool on 16th September 2016. For more information, visit http://www.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/.