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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com
Meetings will be held in Basingstoke and Winchester. Other sites may be added in 2024.
No. Separate sessions will be held for our Male and Female survivors.
Parking will be available either onsite or nearby.
There is no joining fee, the sessions are free.
All personal data will be electronically stored on confidential and encrypted data base with only limited access by the STEPS team.
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
"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
"The support, understanding and guidance that I've received from START has been life-changing. The whole process has been crucial for me to understand some of the trauma I'd experienced during my childhood. Who I've become as a consequence, who I am today, and how I process some of my thoughts, feelings and emotions." - April 2023
"I cannot thank Sarah at START enough for the counselling I received. I was a bit sceptical of the EMDR therapy I was offered at first but it really has helped me a great deal and I'm grateful for having the opportunity to go through it." - April 2023
"I'd like to thank everyone involved at START. You're doing a phenomenal job. I can't stress how important this journey has been for me. It's been a life altering experience." - April 2023
"Thank you for the Lotus week end, my life is taking a turn for the better and my new journey begins now." - July 2023