AVON and Somerset Police are running a video campaign to raise awareness and increase confidence in reporting male rape and serious sexual assault.

About twice as many male victims of rape are now contacting police than in 2010 but an estimated fewer than one in ten male victims are believed to be reporting the crime at all.

Supt Sarah Crew, the force lead for rape and sexual assault, said men being pressured or forced into sex or sexual activity when they don’t want to is a crime – and the victim is never to blame.

She added: “Reporting rape or sexual assault takes a huge amount of courage.

“Talking about what’s happened can often be one of the most difficult things those who’ve been raped or sexually assaulted have to do.

“We want to talk openly about the concerns which may be holding victims back from reporting rape and sexual assault so that more men and women feel able to seek help and support and report these crimes to us.

“Officers working in our specialist investigation team, ‘Operation Bluestone’, are dedicated to supporting victims of sexual violence and will do everything they can to make sure you receive the best possible care and support.”

The video, promoted across social networks, features the voice of a rape survivor and aims to highlight the support available.

The one-minute clip directs people to thisisnotanexcuse.org – a website which aims to dispel the myths surrounding rape and sexual assault and offers advice and information.

Michael May, from Survivors UK, which supports male victims, said: “For many men, an experience of sexual violation creates a feeling of having been ‘un-maled’, that they’ve failed to meet internal and societal definitions of masculinity.

“Our own experience is that if these men feel that they can be seen and heard without being judged, they’re much more likely to come forward.”

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “One of my four priorities is tackling sexual violence and we can’t forget that men are at risk of this just as women and children are.

“It’s important that men know where to turn to for help if they need it and that they will be listened to and taken seriously.”