Dr. Matthew McVarish

SAGE Member


Dr. Matthew McVarish

Dr. Matthew McVarish, from Glasgow, Scotland, is a multi-award-winning Human Rights Activist, and survivor of childhood sexual abuse (CSA).

In 2013 Matthew set-up the ‘Road to Change’ project to walk 10,000 miles visiting every EU capital campaigning for the abolition of the statute of limitations on reporting child sexual abuse. Through his walk he successfully advocated for a number of governments to table motions in their parliament to address the statute of limitations. In some countries Matthew became the first male survivor ever to speak publicly about having been sexually abused with his message broadcast across TV, radio, and newspapers in over thirty languages. His walk drew invitations to address the Council of Europe, the United Nations and the Vatican, for a personal audience with Pope Francis. The ‘Road to Change’ project was made possible with the invaluable support and collaboration of five incredible international organizations:

Ariel Foundation International, Innocence in Danger, Moira Anderson Foundation, Raphael International Foundation and Stop the Silence: Stop Child Sexual Abuse Inc.

The Scottish Government commissioned his research entitled, “The quality of silence”, outlining the varied sociological, economic, and cultural obstacles to reporting childhood sexual abuse faced by survivors in the 40+ countries he’s worked. Matthew has given lectures to the Icelandic, Serbian, and Scottish governments as well as Scotland’s Police, Crown Office, and Procurator Fiscal. He has also chaired numerous global discussions on children’s rights for the UN, and with ECPAT International in Bangkok, Matthew co-created the world's first Global Survivor Forum, gathering as many formidable survivor activists from around the world as possible, some are now members of the Brave Movement.

Alongside activism, Matthew is a published songwriter and has a master’s degree in Acting from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He starred in the BBC Children’s TV channel ‘Cbeebies’ and now writes drama for the BBC. His debut theatre play, “To kill a Kelpie”, catalyzed the real-life arrest of his uncle. Now over a decade later, the play has been translated and is currently touring throughout France.

Originally a client, Matthew is extremely proud to be Scotland’s International Ambassador for the Moira Anderson Foundation. The organization guided him and his brothers through the prosecution of their uncle.

Matthew’s latest book, “The truth that no one tells teenagers”, a practical guide to navigating your own recovery for teen survivors of childhood sexual abuse, is highly recommended by child psychologists. It is available on Amazon, Kindle, and audible.com.