Following feedback from local people, improvements are to be made to counselling services for those affected by sexual abuse in South Yorkshire.
Counselling for victims of sexual abuse has always taken place at rape support centres in South Yorkshire, supported by the SARC. However, a small number of counselling services*1 for those affected by sexual abuse have been hosted at the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), a South Yorkshire-wide resource based at Rotherham Hospital.
Following feedback, gathered by NHS England, suggesting that some found it traumatic returning to the SARC base where they were first assessed following a sexual attack, from April, counselling services for sexual abuse victims in South Yorkshire will take place only in rape support centres.
There are five rape support centres across South Yorkshire and providing counselling at these centres makes it easier for victims to access support near to where they live. These counselling sessions will continue to be carried out by specially trained sexual violence workers, in confidential and welcoming environments.
In Rotherham, for example, victims have access to counselling services, held at Rotherham Women’s Counselling Services near to the town centre and near to Rotherham Hospital. Services for men are proved by Pit Stop from the same base.
Lynsey Fenwick, manager of South Yorkshire’s SARC, said: “This is a really positive way for us to offer a better service to those affected by sexual abuse. Coming back into the SARC for counselling can trigger distressing memories for some of those using the services and we have taken action to ensure this won’t be the case.
“The SARC is a highly valued resource for victims of sexual abuse in South Yorkshire and besides counselling, we’d like to reassure those affected that none of the services the SARC provides will close or be cancelled as a direct result of these changes.”
The SARC, which is ran as a partnership by The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, NHS England and South Yorkshire Police Crime Commissioner’s Office provides practical and emotional support to those affected by sexual abuse.
Those who would like to know more about help and support available for those affected by sexual abuse should contact the SARC in confidence for independent advice on 01709 427327 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.theisissouthyorkshire.co.uk.
*1 - The Counselling services held at SARC at Rotherham Hospital were provided by Barnsley Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Services (BSARCS).