Many of our member Rape Crisis Centres offer counselling and/or other therapeutic services to sexual violence survivors, and sometimes also to their parents, partners or other supporters if they have the capacity.
Most Rape Crisis counselling is woman-centred and provided by women counsellors in a women-only safe space. Some Rape Crisis Centres also offer counselling services to male survivors, and/or to male partners, parents etc., often within a separate space from the provision for women and girls or on different days / at different times, and they might also have male counsellors available. Some Rape Crisis Centres have lower age limits for their counselling service, for example they might provide counselling to women and girls aged over 13 or 16 years old, and others work with children of any age, as well as adults.
Some Rape Crisis Centres also offer different types of therapeutic service, such as body-work, group-work and/or play-work.
To find out about the specific services your nearest Rape Crisis Centre(s) offer, explore our membership directory by clicking here or on the orange button to the right of this page.
Despite the differences between Rape Crisis Centres, you can be confident that all our members work to our Rape Crisis National Service Standards (RCNSS), meaning the services you receive will be specialist, confidential, free and independent, for example of the police or any other statutory bodies.
Counselling should provide a space that helps you gain a clearer understanding of yourself, your experiences and your situation. Your Rape Crisis counsellor will never force you to talk about anything you are not ready to, and you and your counsellor will review whether you feel the counselling is meeting your needs on a regular basis.
Deciding to have counselling can be a very powerful and life-affirming choice. At the same time, it is not always easy or comfortable. It will involve remembering and feeling memories and emotions that can be painful and difficult. You might sometimes find it confusing, want to give up, or even get angry with your counsellor. Be reassured that this is a normal part of the counselling process and it will get easier.
Sometimes we can feel like we're 'cracking up' or going 'mad' when we start to experience emotions that might have been suppressed for a long time but try to remember that it is healthy to feel. When you work with a counsellor who is right for you, you should feel understood and supported. You'll be encouraged to express your feelings in safe and appropriate ways. This may well mean going through bouts of sadness and crying a lot. Counselling does not bring with it the promise of total happiness; there will be other issues and situations in your life that can and will cause pain. Nor will counselling make you forget all about your experiences of sexual violence. What it does offer is the opportunity to explore and accept your past experiences and to move forward positively with your life.