Sexual Trauma & Abuse Restorative Therapies
START provides support for males of any age who have been affected by unwanted sexual experiences at any time in their lives which has resulted in sexual trauma. Following a rigorous process, we have been approved as a quality provider by the Male Survivor Partnership.
We do not provide services for males where:
START believes that is it crucial in operating services to involve those it provides services for and the START Consultative and Advisory Panel has male survivor representatives who regularly meet with the START team. If you are interested in knowing more please click here and how it is involved in service development check out our news items here.
Please note: We do not provide a counselling service where the the sexual abuse relates to online issues such as grooming, or control and cohesive control. We do however offer educational advice and guidance on such issues.
We currently provide face-to-face counselling and therapeutic support at our offices in Winchester, at the Bridge in Andover and The Orchard in Basingstoke and are seeking further locations in Hart and Rushmoor. Males can also access our male specific, monthly, Peer Support group programme, STEPS, available at various locations across Hampshire.
If you live in our area (your post code can be found on our website), and want to access our services yourself – please fill in our self-referral form via our Contact page.
Please note: While the demand for our services is high, we try and keep the waiting time for counselling to a minimum (although you can ask about private counselling with us).
We believe that Peer Support can be a key part of your recovery programme, which is why we have set up STEPS Peer Support Groups in various locations across Hampshire. The possibility of joining one of these groups and the timing of joining will be discussed with you during the assessment meeting and at appropriate points in the counselling process.
You will be seen by one of our assessment team who can be either a male or female assessor, depending on your gender preference. The assessor will discuss a risk assessment and a support plan with you, to see how we can best help you. The assessment is very much a two-way process.
Once we receive your referral we will contact you via email to arrange an appointment. We recognise that taking that next step is very difficult and, if you prefer, we can carry out the appointment via a telephone call, to talk through any concerns you are experiencing and ways in which we can help you to overcome them. If you want to speak to someone who has had similar experiences to yourself, before talking to a counsellor, we can arrange for one of our male or female Friends of START to contact you.
Yes, we have a daily help and advice line specifically for males (telephone 01962 864433) which is available 10-2pm each week day. This is not an emergency line. We aim to return any calls left on the answerphone within 24 hours. We can also offer counselling online or by telephone.
If we feel you need other types of help, we will signpost you to other male services that we feel may be better placed to support you. These will be discussed with you and could be either the statutory services such as mental health, other health services or other specialist voluntary agencies. With your consent, we can contact them on your behalf. There are some national, male specific, helpful, online support services to which we may also signpost you, which offer help and advice.
We will keep you regularly updated on where you are on our counselling Waiting List. You can also attend one of our male-specific, STEPS Peer Support groups while waiting for counselling and we may also suggest other services which can help you while you wait. The initial assessment will identify any additional support we feel might help you, including possibly contacting crises teams on your behalf, as START is not an immediate crises service. These will be services which can work alongside START services.
Yes, to support you for the initial assessment or for a session of face-to-face counselling, but not at STEPS Peer Support group meetings.
No, we do not discriminate between males and females, as we view everyone we see as survivors, having experienced unwanted sexual trauma. We have unisex toilet facilities at our offices in Winchester and may have unisex or separate facilities for males and females at our locations in Andover and Basingstoke.
No, we operate an appointment only system.
Yes, we run STEPS Peer Support groups specifically for males. Self-referrals to these groups can be made through our website’s Contact page. These groups meet monthly and are led by male facilitators.
We use the RADAR issues and outcomes tool created by The Survivor’s Trust to record your presenting issues at assessment and to chart your progress through counselling. Progress will be reviewed every six weeks, with you and the counsellor completing a new RADAR form. You will have copies of each RADAR form so that you can see the progress that you are making, during the process and when the counselling sessions end.
While we try and match each individual with a compatible counsellor and will always ensure your gender preference is respected, in rare cases the counselling relationship doesn’t work as well as we would hope. Should this issue arise, you can raise it during your first three sessions and ask to have another counsellor. We will seek to find an alternative counsellor as quickly as possible.
Yes, we collect data using the details submitted on the referral form, adhering to current GDPR legislation. This information is used, anonymised, to support funder reporting and to determine trends and demands, which helps us in planning future service needs. Your personal details are kept on a secure computer database and once you end your contact with us, we destroy all personal records after three years as part of our GDPR policy.
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 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
"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