We're here to help

We offer confidential helpline support as well as counselling and advice on giving support to others who have been raped or sexually abused.  We also offer practical help and emotional support from our Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA).

If you're not quite ready to talk

Our resources section has useful information for survivors of rape and sexual abuse. 

Everything has changed, I now feel confident about myself and look forward to the future. I feel pride in my recovery.
— Former counselling client

Calls are confidential

You do not have to give us any details to get support and we will not ask you to. You are in control of what you tell us.

The helpline volunteer I spoke to on a couple of occasions was very reassuring, spoke to me with patience and understanding and helped to calm my nerves.
— Helpline caller

Helpline for All Survivors

The Helpline offers emotional support to all survivors of rape or sexual abuse, no matter when or how it happened.  We also provide support to anyone affected by sexual violence that has happened to others eg. parents, carers , professionals and partners.  We do not discriminate against age, race, religion, disability, gender or sexuality.  We are happy to accept calls from anywhere, but we are unable to offer Counselling or ISVA support to survivors living outside of Sheffield.

If you  need an interpreter to be able to use the Helpline service, we can arrange this, as long as you give us notice.  

Opening times

Monday 1pm - 3pm

Tuesday 6pm - 8pm

Wednesday 10am - 12 noon  and 1pm - 3pm

Friday 10am - 12 noon and 1pm - 3pm 

The helpline is staffed by our fully trained volunteers. Outside these times you can leave a message on the 24 hour answer phone and a member of our helpline team will return your call as soon as possible (usually during helpline opening times).

We regret that our text and email support is currently unavailable. We are working to get this service up and running again as soon as possible. Further details will be posted on this website when the service is available.

If you change your mind

If you change your mind after you have called us and don’t want to carry on talking that’s fine; you can end the call at any time.  You can call back at any time the Helpline is open, even if you didn’t speak the first time you called. Sometimes it takes a few calls before you’re ready to talk. You can call us for support as many times as you need to.

“I was listened to, taken seriously, allowed to see that what happened was not my fault, and I had nothing to be ashamed about.”
— Former counselling client

Counselling

Our specialist counselling service is for anyone aged 13 and above who lives in Sheffield.  We are a dedicated team, working hard to support anyone who has experienced rape or sexual abuse at any time, providing free, confidential and non-judgemental counselling support for people accessing our service.  

From your initial contact with our service and throughout your journey with us, we will listen, believe and support you to recover and move forward with your life.

Counselling appointments take place in our city centre location, in a confidential space that is warm and welcoming.

What is Counselling?

Counselling offers you the chance to be heard and to talk with someone about what has happened to you and how it is affecting you. You will not be judged or told what to do. You will be supported in being yourself, in making your own choices and supported to make changes in your life if that is what you want.

The relationship you build with your Counsellor is often an important part of the process, offering you a safe, respectful and non-judgemental space to speak openly about the issues you are facing.  You will not be forced to talk about anything you don’t wish to, however feelings and memories can be stirred up, which can be hard; your Counsellor will help you work through this to help you become more able to manage your feelings about the past, and feel more confident to carry on with your life.

Click here to read more on how to access counselling…

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 How long does it take?

Counselling is a very individual process and it is difficult to say how long it will take, some people attend a few sessions, others more.

If you make a referral into our service we will contact you to arrange for you to come to our centre for a pre-counselling assessment meeting with one of our Counsellors.  We aim to contact you for this first appointment within eight weeks of receiving your completed Registration Form.

The pre-counselling assessment meeting is a chance for you and the Counsellor to discuss together whether we are the best service to support you, what support we can offer and what you hope to gain from counselling. It is an opportunity for you to ask any questions and to discuss any concerns you might have. If you and the Counsellor agree that counselling may be helpful for you, the number of sessions offered will be agreed between you.

Counselling with SRASAC may be suitable for you if you are looking to explore past experiences and would like to move forward positively in your life. If you are currently living in an unsafe environment or experiencing ongoing trauma, for example domestic and/or sexual violence, we may be unable to offer counselling at this time. 

Due to the very high demand for our services, there will be a wait between your pre-counselling assessment meeting and starting your counselling sessions, which could take several months. The more flexible you are with your availability for regular counselling appointments (the same day and same time each week), the quicker you will be able to start your counselling. 

 

How does it work?

It is important that you are able to attend regular weekly sessions, usually the same day and same time each week, once your counselling starts. Counselling sessions are normally offered on weekdays, during office hours.  We have some availability for later appointments on Tuesday evenings.  We do not offer counselling sessions at the weekends.

Please note if you are planning to be away from Sheffield for a period of time in next few months, for example if you are a student returning home for the summer, please wait until you are back in Sheffield and/or are available to attend appointments before referring into the service.

All Counsellors at SRASAC are fully qualified and have the knowledge and understanding of the many effects of sexual violence, so you can expect that the person you talk to will be familiar with the sort of difficulties that you are having.

“I feel like I have made a lot of progress. I think I can have the courage to prioritise my feelings over the expectations of others, and respect and look after myself. I feel so much better about everything.”
— Former Counselling Client

If you would like counselling

If you would like to receive counselling from us, you can either call our helpline (0808 802 0013) to arrange this or fill in the secure online referral form, by clicking the purple Counselling Request Form button below.  This initial form asks for some basic information including how best to contact you.  

After we have received your Counselling Request form, we will send you a more detailed Counselling Registration Form for you to fill in and return to us.  When we get a completed registration form back from you, your name will be placed on our waiting list for a pre-counselling assessment meeting. We may need to contact you before we arrange this meeting to ask you some additional questions to help us understand if we are the right service for you at this time.

We understand that reaching out can be hard. If you would like to make a referral into our counselling service, please click on the purple counselling request button below.

How we can help you to help others

We offer support to friends, partners and relatives or others involved in supporting  survivors who are welcome to ring our helpline 0808 802 0013 for support.

If you are supporting someone who has been raped or abused, you may well need support yourself. We recognise how important the support of partners, friends, relatives and carers can be for a survivor, to help them feel back in control of their lives.

Supporting someone who has been abused

When someone has been raped or sexually abused they may feel scared, distressed, humiliated, angry, powerless, confused, numb and guilty. These feelings may vary greatly from day to day or month to month.

What you can do

 Survivors of abuse have individual responses to being abused and what helps one person may not be useful for another. However, it is clear that there are some things that are important to the majority of survivors. What always seems to help is having someone around who will listen and not rush them to ‘get better’ or ‘forget about it’; someone who will try to understand how they are feeling and what they want in the way of support.

What is always essential is for a survivor to feel that they are believed. Whatever the circumstances of the abuse, there is always one dominant feature - that it was something forced on them, against their will and that it deliberately took control from them, ignoring what they wanted.

The use of force, whether physical or not, is always a violent act, causing distress and humiliation. To help a survivor regain control over their life and begin to rebuild their sense of worth, it is crucial to recognise how upsetting and frightening it is to be forced against your will in this way.

It is everyone’s basic human right to be free from threat, harassment or attack.

When a person has been raped or sexually abused they may lose their feelings of safety and trust. With your help they need to rebuild those feelings of control, trust and self-worth.

For ideas on how you can support a survivor to feel that they are back in control of their life, after their experience of rape or sexual abuse, please click on the purple button below.

More information can also be found on our Resources Page.

Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA )

Our Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA ) offers a free and confidential specialist service providing  practical help and emotional support to anyone 18 years and over who has been raped or sexually assaulted at any time in their lives,  whether or not they have chosen to report to the police.

If this has happened to you, you might be struggling to cope.  Maybe it feels like no-one understands what you have experienced & how you feel. Maybe you don't want to talk to someone about it, but you know that you need to.  We understand how difficult it is to talk about the abuse that you have suffered.

The ISVA  can help you to work out what you need to help you move forward from the sexual assault and she will try and help you get the things you need to do that. The ISVA service is about helping you to make informed choices, not about telling you what to do.

The ISVA can :

  • Give you emotional support

  • Help you develop ways of coping and

  • Help you to put together a support network (a group of people or organisations that can give you help and support)

  • Helping you to understand what choices you have about reporting your incident to the Police

  • Help you get other specialist support, e.g. counselling, mental health, sexual health, substance and alcohol misuse

  • Help you communicate with the Police

  • Give you information and support around the Criminal Justice System (CJS)

  • Support you through the court process (be there with you ate court etc.)

Just wanted to say thanks for calling round and for working with me... I feel like I can get through it more now than I did before. It’s nice to know someone’s there for me, if and when it goes to court.

-Text message from ISVA client

How you can get the ISVA service:

You can ask for a referral to the service from the Police, NHS or any other agency.

Or, you can self-refer by calling the  Helpline on 0808 802 0013 or by using a secure form at:

https://isva-referral.drasacs.org.uk

 

 

 

SRASAC Groups

SRASAC offers a number of different group opportunities for all. 

The groups are open to anyone aged 18 years and above who has had an initial face to face assessment with our service or who have accessed the service in the past.

All of our groups provide a safe space where clients can build their confidence by supporting each other and getting help from the SRASAC team. The groups aim to encourage and empower group members to participate in any way that feels comfortable, to share as much or as little as you wish and also to contribute to what topics and activities you would like to see included in the groups. 

The groups are facilitated by two members of SRASAC’s counselling team and can be accessed at different points of your contact with the service.

If you are interested in finding out more about any of our groups please contact Lesley on 0114 241 2766 or email lesley@srasac.org.uk

Here is a list of groups that we are running in 2019:

Single Sex Drop-in Sessions:

These stand-alone group sessions offer a safe space for individual’s to build confidence in a small group, by supporting and connecting with other people, supported by counsellors.  Themes/topics include ‘Self Care’, ‘Safe Anger Release’, ‘Being Assertive’ and ‘Support for family and friends’. 

Womens’ Wellbeing Group:

This is an eight-week (pre-counselling) group for female survivors, focused on understanding trauma responses in a group environment. To understand that our individual responses are instincts that ‘help us’, even though they may feel unpredictable, upsetting or even frightening.  To develop a ‘survival kit’ of resources, both inner and outer, emotional and practical, empowering individual’s to discover strategies to begin to overcome their difficulties.

The aim of this Wellbeing group is to support women through the first stage of trauma recovery, and to facilitate their capacity to engage in the next stage of recovery in one to one counselling work at a pace suited to the individual.

Womens’ Post Therapy Group:

This is an eight week group for women who have completed their counselling and wish for the opportunity to connect with other women.  A chance to reduce any sense of isolation, normalise the impacts of sexual violence and learn more about what the challenges and triumphs of being in a group are for you.

Men’s Post Therapy Group:

As above, this is an eight week group for male survivors who would benefit from an opportunity to connect with other men in a supportive environment around common themes set by the group. Reducing any sense of isolation, normalising the impacts of sexual violence.

Parents and Supporters of Child Survivors:

This group offers valuable support and information for the parents and supporters of child victims of sexual violence or abuse. It allows group members an opportunity to identify and talk about their feelings and concerns in a shared safe space.  It gives a chance to build confidence in supporting each other, sharing the impact this experience has had on group members and their families, helping to reduce the sense of isolation and despair parents and supporters often feel.  

Service User Feedback Groups

One off feedback sessions for clients who are exiting the service, allowing a valuable opportunity to give SRASAC feedback on the services we offer and a chance to tell us what other services you might benefit from. In addition, these sessions provide a forum for our clients to experience the challenges and surprises of ‘being in a group’, supported by experienced SRASAC staff. 

Singing Group:

This fun, enjoyable group is for anyone accessing our service and allows us to come together for the pure joy and connection of singing. There is no pressure to ‘get it right’ and all levels of experience are welcome. The group is led by a member of the Natural Voice Movement https://naturalvoice.net a group of people who work with voice and song and who believe that singing is everyone's birth right, regardless of musical experience or ability.

The singing group runs on Monday evenings at SRASAC for eight sessions each term from 5.30pm – 6.30pm.

Many of our clients say that they find the thought of coming into a group to be very challenging, but most say the benefits of a group far outweigh their initial fear! 

All of our groups offer a space in which you are invited to be yourself, in the company of others, where you can participate in any way that feels comfortable for you.  You will not be asked to say or do anything that is not okay for you and we love it when people put themselves in charge of themselves!

For more detailed information about our groups, including dates and times, please contact Lesley on 0114 241 2766 or by email lesley@srasac.org.uk , or ask your Counsellor when the next group is starting and be warmly invited to ask for more information if you would like it.

Support for Men and Boys

Men and boys can also experience rape or sexual abuse at any time in their lives. We offer Helpline and Counselling to Men and Boys aged 13 years and above and Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) support to children of any age, their families and adult survivors through the Criminal Justice System.