Russell Manser: Former criminal turned TikTok star who inspired abuse survivors dies

Jonathon Nolan
The Nightly
Russell Manser, who had served 23 years in prison before turning his trauma into a chance to help other abuse survivors, has died.
Russell Manser, who had served 23 years in prison before turning his trauma into a chance to help other abuse survivors, has died. Credit: Russell Manser

A former prisoner turned social media star who used his trauma as an opportunity to help victims of abuse has died.

Russell Manser served 23 years in multiple prisons throughout Australia for a string of bank robberies he was responsible for.

Following his release, Manser turned to TikTok to educate others on the trauma he suffered as a victim of sexual abuse.

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His Voice of a Survivor handle amassed more than 130,000 followers and was a guiding light — helping other people who were victims of sexual abuse find their purpose in life.

Additionally, Manser hosted a podcast entitled The Stick Up, where he spoke with guests including Australian rapper Ay Huncho, former NRL star Braith Anasta and businessman Mark Bouris.

Friends and mourners flooded social media on Sunday following the news of his untimely death, expressing their grief.

Lawyer Andrew Carpenter said he will miss his “dear friend”, whom he met through his advocacy work.

“We wanted to change the world. We wanted to save the world. You saved so many lives. You changed so many lives,” Mr Carpenter said in a tribute posted on Instagram on Sunday night.

“You were my sounding board when I was struggling with the horrendous topics of abuse.

“I’ll always love you through the sands of time. As you’ll always be a hero of mine.”

“Rest easy, my brother.”

Survivor advocate Harrison James said the “survivor community mourns the loss of a dear friend”.

“Despite our brief encounters, Russell’s impact was profound,” Mr James said.

“He turned his own struggles into a beacon of hope, dedicating himself to supporting survivors of child sexual abuse.

“His legacy transcends boundaries, offering solace to those battling addiction, crime, and mental illness.

“Russell’s spirit will forever inspire us to persevere, to embrace transformation, and to stand in solidarity with one another.

“Rest in power, brother. My thoughts are with his family, friends, and loved ones, especially his son.”

Mr Manser’s cause of death is currently unknown; however, it is understood he passed away on Sunday just an hour after posting a video on social media.

Mr Manser regularly posted videos alongside his 22-year-old son, Ky Manser, hoping to inspire others to open conversations around mental health and support options, especially for men.


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