Sexual Trauma & Abuse Restorative Therapies

Advice & Support Line
01962 868 688

START provides support for all females of any age who have been affected by unwanted sexual experiences at any time in their lives which has resulted in sexual trauma.

We do not provide services for females where:

  • they are unable to attend our counselling sites as we do not offer community or home visits.
  • 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 crises response is needed – there is a dedicated female helpline but for 24 hrs response provided by Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre (Rape Crisis South London) 0808 802 9999 should be contacted instead.
  • the contact’s postcode (address) is from outside our geographical area. For female services outside our area visit the The Survivors Trust website for more information instead.

Where we operate which services

We only provide face-to-face counselling and therapeutic support at our offices in Winchester, Andover and Basingstoke. Females can access our female specific monthly peer support groups called STEPS across most of Hampshire.

If you live in our area (your postcode 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 have a range of services for females which we will discuss with you and which ones we think might be best in supporting your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when I come for an initial assessment?

You will be seen by one of our assessment team who, depending on your gender preference, will be either a male or female assessor. The person seeing you will do a risk assessment and a support plan with you to see who we can best help you. We will then discuss this with you and give you a copy of our assessment if you want one. 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 you refer into us we will initially contact you via email to arrange an appointment and then we can discuss any issues with you. We recognise that taking that next step is very difficult and we can arrange this via a telephone call with one of our male or female counsellors, depending on your preference, to talk through any concerns you are experiencing and ways to overcome these. If you want to speak to someone but not a counsellor we can arrange for one of our male or female Friends team to contact you.

Do you offer telephone help for Females?

Yes, we have a daily help and advice line specifically for females (telephone 01962 868688) 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.

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 female services that we feel maybe better placed to support you. These will be discussed with you and could be either the statutory services such as mental health or other health services or other specialist voluntary agencies. We can contact them with your consent. There are some national female specific helpful support services which we may suggest for signposting you to 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 face-to-face counselling waiting list. You can also attend one of our female specific peer support groups at the same time as waiting for counselling and we will also suggest other services which can help you while you wait. The initial assessment will identify what support we feel might help you including possibly contacting crises teams 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 the pre-counselling or peer group meetings.

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

No, we do not discriminate between males and females as we view everyone we see as having experienced unwanted sexual trauma survivors regardless of gender. We have unisex toilet facilities at our offices in Winchester and separate facilities for males and females at the offices we use in Andover.

Do you have a drop in service?

No, we operate an appointment only system as we have limited office cover and counsellors are not here all the time.

Do you offer support outside the counselling specifically for Females?

Yes, we run some peer support groups specifically for Females called STEPS, self-referrals to these groups can be made through our website’s contact page. These groups meet monthly and are led by Female facilitators.

How can I see how I am doing in counselling?

Our RADAR outcome tool which we use to chart your counselling progress will be reviewed every few weeks and discussed with you and you can have a copy of your progress and outcome measure at this time and at the end of your counselling.

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

While we try and match who will think would be good for you and will always ensure your gender preference are respected, sometimes the counselling relationship doesn’t work as well as we’d hope. Therefore you can ask to have another counsellor within the duration of your first three therapy sessions, as long as fair notice is given about this before the date of your forth therapy session.

Do you collect personal data?

Yes we collect data using the details submitted on the referrals. These are used to collate and analyse our referrals to determine trends and demands which then help us in planning future services needs. We publish the service trends once a year from the collected and anonymized data. Your referral personal details are kept on a secure and confidential computer database and once you end your contact with us we destroy all personal records after 3 years as part of our GDPR policy and procedure.

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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