Pre-trial is counselling that is offered to a victim or witness while the criminal justice process is on-going and a trial may be possible. From the point when you report what happened to the police to the time when all the court proceeding are complete we can offer a limited style of counselling to ensure that you feel emotionally supported whilst also trying not influence the evidence you would give in court.
Before you give evidence in court you are requested not to discuss your testimony with anyone in any detail. As a result of this, in pre-trial therapy you should not talk about anything that is in your police statement or maybe relevant to the case. This usually means that you should not talk about the event for which you have come to us for support which can feel like the “elephant in the room”. You and your counsellor will decide in the first session what you will use the counselling sessions for so that it can still be helpful for you.
Just like other counselling you will see the same therapist at regular appointments. You can talk about what you are thinking and feeling at the moment and work on making changes, for example to your self-esteem or within relationships. You can work on coping strategies for dealing with what happened to you and talk about the impact it has had on you, as long as you don’t talk and discuss the specific memories. You can talk about any worries you have about the police or court process.
If you go over what happened while in counselling it could be argued in court that you have been “coached” about what to say in court. This could have an effect upon the way the evidence is viewed by the court and the outcome of the trial.
All the counselling records are confidential, however, it is possible that we could receive a request from the prosecutor or the defence lawyers or through a court order saying we must disclose our counselling records regarding your sessions. Our counselling notes are brief and factual and will clearly state that it has been agreed not to discuss your evidence during in counselling. It is therefore unlikely the records will be requested or if sought then actually used in evidence. The counsellor can be called as a witness to discuss the records but this is very rare.
Once the court case is finished you can return the RASAC for ongoing counselling if you feel you need it, and you can then talk about anything you want to and work through any unresolved issues. You can also talk through the experience of the court process as this can be traumatic in its own right. You may wish to see the counsellor who you saw for pre-trial therapy or another counsellor.
Call our Advice & Support Line on 01962 868 688 or 01962 864 433
Anonymous SMS Text helpline service: 07860 027 793
Available 24 hours
"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