Our team

Matthew McVarish

Representative to the Council of Europe, Brave Movement

Dr. Matthew McVarish is a multi-award-winning Human Rights Activist and survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

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 several 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.

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. With ECPAT International in Bangkok, Matthew has also co-created the world's first Global Survivor Forum, gathering many formidable survivor activists from around the world, some of who are now members of the Brave Movement.

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 recovery for teen survivors of childhood sexual abuse, is highly recommended by child psychologists, and is available on Amazon, Kindle, and audible.com.

Alongside his 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.