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Sexual Trauma & Abuse Restorative Therapies

Advice & Support Line
01962 868 688
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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:

  • the main issue is not sexual trauma.
  • they have committed a sexual offence or are on, or have been on, the sex offenders register.
  • couple or partner counselling if requested – we do not offer this service.
  • other counselling is being provided elsewhere at the point of contact.
  • an immediate crisis response is needed – there is a dedicated male helpline but for
  • 24 hrs response National Helpline 0808800 5005 should be contacted instead.
  • the contact’s postcode (address) is from outside our geographical area. For male services outside our area visit the Male Survivors Partnership’s website for more information instead.

Where we operate which services

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).

The START Step-by-Step Approach

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when I come for an initial assessment?

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.

What happens if I just can't face coming into the START offices to see someone for counselling?

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.

Do you offer telephone help for Males?

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.

What happens if you feel you can't help me?

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.

What happens while I am waiting for a service?

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.

Can I bring my partner or friend with me?

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.

Do you have special entrances or facilities for males at your offices?

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.

Do you have a drop in service?

No, we operate an appointment only system.

Do you offer support outside the counselling specifically for Males?

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.

How can I see how I am doing in counselling?

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.

What if I don’t get on with my counsellor?

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.

Do you collect personal data?

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

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