The Seafarers’ Charity is concerned about the increasing evidence of sexual violence at sea.

Sexual violence and harassment may affect women working in a male-dominated work environment, young cadets joining as crew for the first time, and crew working in the professional yacht sector. It also includes male-on-male sexual assault. The Seafarers’ Charity has funded a range of initiatives to both explore the issue of sexual violence at sea, and to fund services to support the recovery of those who have been impacted.


The Port-based Welfare Needs of Women Seafarers by Professor Helen Sampson and Dr Iris Acejo at Cardiff University’s Seafarers International Research Centre was funded by The Seafarers’ Charity. The research reveals women seafarers’ experience of exclusion, isolation and fear of sexual harassment and assault from their male colleagues. In their own words, the 30 women who contributed to the research, describe their experiences of discrimination and harassment from their male colleagues – both those in superior roles, as well as of the same status and subordinate. The research identified that women working on cargo ships are likely to require more support from port welfare services because they suffer high levels of fear and loneliness while working in a male-dominated environment at sea.


In partnership with the International Christian Maritime Association a webinar was held to present the research fundings, raise awareness of the issues, and to explore that what more maritime welfare charities could do to support the welfare needs of women seafarers.

Watch the webinar discussion on supporting the welfare of women at sea here. Click here for Professor Helen Sampson's presentation and here for the webinar agenda.

Training and Education

The Nautical Institute, a leading provider of training and career development for seafarers, has received funding from The Seafarers’ Charity for a new partnership project to tackle toxic working practices and transforming leadership on board; thereby improving the working experience of seafarers.

Funded services to support seafarers:

Seafarer Help

The Seafarers’ Charity funds Seafarer Help delivered by the International Seafarers Welfare & Assistance Network offering help with a range of issues faced by seafarers including bullying and harassment or feeling low. This is a Free, confidential, multilingual helpline for seafarers and their families available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

Safer Waves

Safer Waves offers support and information via an email emotional support service for male and female merchant seafarers who have experienced sexual violence, sexual harassment, or gender discrimination.

Salute Her UK

Salute Her began as a counselling service to support female veterans who had experienced sexual trauma during their military service. The Seafarers’ Charity’s funding enables Salute Her to expand their therapy services to also support female seafarers in the merchant navy and commercial fishing with workshops, courses, groups and individual counselling or mental health therapy delivered either face to face or virtually.