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Advocacy Counselling Helpline

Counselling

You can download information about our Counselling Service if it is safe for you to do so by clicking here and reading it at your own pace. If you are ready to refer yourself, please click here for a referral form We understand that making the decision to talk to a counsellor about your experiences of sexual violence can take time, and we hope that this information is useful to you.

The Counselling Service is available to women who are seeking counselling for themselves. We also accept referrals from external agencies and professionals, although we cannot accept a referral for a woman if she has not consented to it. If you are working with a woman who you feel would benefit from our Counselling Service, please click here.

The Counselling Service is available to all women aged 18 and over regardless of disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, ethnic origin, nationality and national origin, religion and belief and sexual orientation.

To get in touch, please use the following information:

Telephone: 0113 200 2936

Email: counselling@sarsvl.org.uk

What is counselling?

Counselling is a form of therapeutic support intended to improve your general wellbeing, with a focus on how you are feeling and managing daily life. Experiencing sexual violence can have a significant impact on many different areas of your life including: relationships, work, parenting and going about your daily routine. Counselling can be one way to change the things you find difficult, and to better understand your thoughts and feelings around what has happened to you.

There are many different kinds of things that can be called ‘sexual violence’. For definitions on what ‘sexual violence’ means, please visit the Rape Crisis website.

What is Support After Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds’s Counselling Service?

We offer a specialist Counselling Service intended to support women who have experienced sexual violence of any kind at any point in their lives. All Counsellors are trained and experienced in working with trauma as a consequence of sexual violence. We offer one-to-one and group counselling in a women-only space.

All Counsellors work from a collaborative stance that supports recovery and empowerment through relationships however each Counsellor practices from a different theoretical perspective. Therefore we have a multi-disciplinary team within our specialist service and can allocate you to a counsellor according to your preference (if you have one).

Counselling is not simply a listening service, nor do we offer drop-in appointments for women wanting support outside of seeing their Counsellor. Counsellors can only provide therapeutic support for your mental health and general wellbeing, and cannot give you practical support/advice inside or outside of your appointments. Should you wish to access practical support, please find out more about our Advocacy Service.

How will I know that counselling is right for me?

Above all counselling is a personal choice and making the decision to work with a Counsellor can take some time. This is especially the case for women who have been violated against or abused in relationships as establishing trust in someone can be extremely difficult after this.

If you feel that working with someone outside of your current situation would be beneficial in improving how you feel and understanding your experiences, then one-to-one counselling may be useful to you. If you would like to work alongside other women who have had similar experiences to you then group counselling could be of benefit.

The assessment process for counselling with us is one way to think about whether you are ready to undertake this kind of work, as your assessment is carried out by a qualified Counsellor in a confidential space. Therefore it is possible to feel more sure about whether counselling is for you once you have attended an assessment appointment, because you know a little more about what it is like.

It is normal to feel that counselling is challenging as you will be talking about some of the most difficult things you have experienced. However, your Counsellor will be keeping this in mind as they work with you to ensure that you are able to handle any difficult feelings throughout your work with them. Your Counsellor will be careful to work with you at a pace you find manageable, in order to make the changes you wish to make. Things can feel worse before they feel better but with a Counsellor you are not alone in this part of your recovery from experiences of sexual violence.

Can I access the counselling service if I am going through the criminal justice system in relation to my experiences of sexual violence?

The Counselling Service at SARSVL is able to offer counselling to women who are currently engaged in the criminal justice system. This includes a report being made, a case currently being investigated, an upcoming trial or a trial that is underway.

Please be aware that the provision of counselling to women in the criminal justice system is subject to additional factors you will need to be aware of, in order to adequately support you. This will be explained, should this apply to you.

If you have reported to the Police, or are thinking of reporting, SARSVL’s Advocacy service can help

How can I access the Counselling Service?

Before an assessment takes place a referral form needs to be completed. You are welcome to complete this yourself if you are able to, with another professional you trust, or in our offices with our support.

To download the counselling referral form, click here. Completed forms can be sent electronically to counselling@sarsvl.org.uk or to the PO Box address on the form.

The referral form can also be completed over the telephone with the Counselling Service Coordinator, and this can take 20-30 minutes. Please do call in advance to arrange a time that suits you to complete it, if this is your preferred option.

If you need support from us to complete the form, please contact the Counselling Service to request an appointment.

Call us free on 
0808 802 3344

Your call should be answered immediately during our opening times, unless we’re on another call. If we’re closed or on another call you can leave us a message and we’ll call you back.