Sexual Trauma & Abuse Restorative Therapies

Advice & Support Line
01962 868 688

START offers a range of group activities and support groups across Central, North and West Hampshire, which are free. For those looking for peer support, we offer our monthly STEPS (Surviving Through Empowerment & Peer Support) programme which anyone who has suffered sexual trauma can join, simply by sending us a referral via our Contacts page on the web-site and we will get back to you. STEPS groups are self-directed with help and facilitation from START group workers.

We also offer pre-counselling psycho-educational groups for those who would like to attend a group with other survivors before commencing one-to-one counselling. These groups last for around 8 weeks and are not a replacement for one-to-one counselling, but do help some people who want to know more about sexual trauma and better understand the recovery process, before committing to one-to-one counselling. These groups cover broader issues related to sexual trauma, rather than personal matters or personal details.

We can and do offer specific pre-counselling groups for students, male and female only groups, Under-18s and LGBT+ groups when we have sufficient demand.


“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Martin Luther King Jr.

What is STEPS?

STEPS (Surviving Through Empowerment and Peer Support) offers Peer Support groups for survivors of sexual violence or sexual abuse. STEPS is a voluntary service available to survivors who are either, waiting for counselling, receiving counselling, have completed their counselling or indeed may not be ready for counselling but still wish to be supported.

STEPS is a confidential space where you can connect with others who have had similar experiences.

STEPS values your wellbeing and strives to empower you with the tools necessary for the future.

How will STEPS help me?

Following the aftermath of sexual abuse, STEPS aim is to provide you with a safe social space to explore a number of ways to become stronger, stay in control, build self-esteem and confidence.

At a STEPS group you will gain support by connecting with your peers, our volunteers, and regular guest speakers.

During the monthly group session, you will be impartially supported through group discussions, speakers and workshops, e.g. how mindfulness can help as a positive coping strategy.

Who are we?

We are professional Counsellors and Volunteers who will support you through the facilitation of the groups.*

At STEPS we encourage survivors to participate in the running of the group, for example by suggesting topics they might like to explore.

We will provide a warm welcome to everyone, along with refreshments of course!

STEPS is for the survivors, supported by the survivors. STEPS is you! We are together.

*Please note we are unable to provide counselling sessions at STEPS group meetings.

Contact Us

Call STEPS landline on 01962 864433 or mobile on 07756 179353 – please leave a message and we will get back to you.

Or email us at

Frequently Asked Questions

What areas can I find a STEPS meeting?

Meetings will be held in Basingstoke and Winchester. Other sites may be added in 2024.

Will the group sessions be mixed gender?

No. Separate sessions will be held for our Male and Female survivors.

Is there parking available at the venues?

Parking will be available either onsite or nearby.

Is there a joining fee?

There is no joining fee, the sessions are free.

Where will my personal data be stored?

All personal data will be electronically stored on confidential and encrypted data base with only limited access by the STEPS team.

How do I join the STEPS support group?

You can refer yourself or be referred by a professional.

Simply visit our contact page and select the appropriate referral form, then select STEPS under Service Required near the end of the form.

Call our Advice & Support Line on 01962 868 688 or 01962 864 433

Anonymous SMS Text helpline service: 07860 027 793

Available 24 hours


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