Welcome to the START website. START is a new sexual trauma service, operating across Central, West and North Hampshire, bringing together the previous RASAC (Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Service) supporting Central, West and North Hampshire and BRASACC (Basingstoke Rape and Sexual Abuse Crisis Centre), also operating in the North of the county. RASAC has been in operation since 1995 and BRASACC since 1985.
The core service offered by START is a confidential, specialist counselling and support service for anyone who has experienced sexual abuse and/or sexual assault, resulting in sexual trauma. The services are offered to everyone, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, cultural or religious background. The duration of counselling varies by individual, with an agreement covering the services we will deliver and the commitments to be made by the client, agreed at an initial assessment interview. The counselling service is free, within NICE guidelines, but for those living outside our core geographic areas, we offer a chargeable service.
In addition to counselling, we offer Peer Support Groups in locations across the county and therapeutic residential week-ends, focused on enabling clients to better manage the impact of their trauma. We also have Friends of START advisory panels which help us to improve our services and organise fundraising events.
"I’ve been struggling with my trauma for over 6 years and Amanda has been so supportive and comforting in how she approached my recovery. She’s taught me how to rediscover myself and work on how to change the way I acknowledge what happened to me and how I am able to change the way it is affecting me in everyday life. I’ve put her advice into action and I’m overwhelmed with the results. Amanda is a true credit to RASAC and I’m eternally grateful for her help."
"Counselling at RASAC has helped me to feel more confident in myself and that I am a worthy person in this world."
"The counselling was exactly what I needed. I found the whole experience very eye opening and can now walk away with a whole new level of confidence and happiness."
"I have gained a new understanding of what happened to me. I am feeling better and my thinking is more positive."
"I am now in control of my thoughts and my life. I have gained self-confidence in so many ways and I am no longer haunted by the past."
"I have been given the tools to cope with everyday life. Without counselling I would have continued to deny my situation and feelings which was having extreme detrimental effect on myself, family and friends… RASAC has saved me from self destruction without the support I would have crumbled – a true life saver."
"My RASAC counselling has completely changed my life… I am a better mother, a more involved member of the community and I am able to keep myself safe."
"I was counselled for almost a year. I had a wonderful counsellor who helped me through a very difficult and unpleasant time in my life. It has been a process of healing by revisiting past places which at one time felt unimaginable. The journey has been raw and unnerving but slowly I came to see how I was repairing my damaged self. I finally accepted ownership of what had happened to me and was able to let go of my guilt and shame. My counsellor understood my outlook on life and created a connection with me that was very special. I eventually looked forward to my session as a weekly debrief rather than a purge. I am as happy and confident as I have ever been and I tell people about what I have learnt to help turn their negativity into positivity. Fear can be a very powerful emotion and prevent us from moving on in our lives but once it is confronted the clouds separate and you can focus on that hint of sunshine."
"Thank-you for the support, for the first time since talking about the sexual abuse to someone it is really helping me."
"Thank you so much for all your time and support while I was working through all of the stuff that happened - I really couldn't have done it without your help and input." Male client - June 2021