We believe that it is important for all male survivors to take charge of their recovery and exercise the real choice so far denied them and make significant changes in their lives
First Step is the only specialist provider of support to male survivors of sexual abuse in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. We support survivors aged 13 and above; abuse maybe historic or recent and the overwhelming proportion of clients present with historical abuse.
Our services have been built around understanding the barriers males face with disclosing their abuse, seeking help and accepting support. We offer a swift response to all referrals by offering flexible opening times including four late evenings (until 8:00pm) a week.
The majority of our delivery is weekly face-to-face counselling delivered by 33 BACP registered volunteer counsellors, this is initially for 6 months though it can be extended where necessary. We also provide emotional support for those not in a position to engage with counselling services and advocacy support where clients face particular issues (eg difficulties with welfare benefits). We are in the process of re-developing our service for 13 to 18 year olds which includes art, music and play therapy, work with schools and the wider family.
In 2018/19 we received 121 referrals and delivered 2,487 counselling or support sessions. The number of sessions delivered and average sessions/client have all been increasing over the last five years relating to the increasing complexity of issues that survivors of historical sexual abuse present with.
What can we offer you?
You have taken the first step to your recovery and completed your assessment session.
The following information outlines our commitment to you and explains the service we offer in more depth.
If, at any time, you wish to ask further questions then please do not hesitate to ask.
What is Counselling?
Counselling is a form of help that focuses on your needs. It offers you the opportunity to understand your thoughts and feelings. It is a place where you can talk to someone who is not involved in your life; someone who has no preference concerning your decisions. Counselling is not about telling you what to do or how to run your life, but it is about exploring your difficulties with another person. This might mean you talk about past and present relationships. You may begin to turn your thoughts and feelings into actions that help you come to terms with your experiences and make new choices.
Who is it for?
There are many reasons for seeking counselling. As a male survivor you may feel a sense of:
- low self esteem
- loss of childhood
- anger or helplessness
- fear of intimacy
- uncertainty around sex or sexuality
- poor body image.
Such thoughts and feelings are not unusual when moving towards recovery. Counselling may be something that you feel might be helpful for you to understand your thoughts and feelings. Our service may enable you to talk about your experiences in as little or as much detail as you want so that you may explore and discover ways of healing yourself.
Are there any other forms of support available?
You may be offered a session with one of our support team for practical or emotional support, or advocacy. Talk to one of our team if this interests you.
How long is a session?
We operate an appointment system and you will be reserved one hour for each session that is booked with your counsellor. This is your time.
To cancel an appointment we ask that you give us as much notice as possible. To do this please ring 07581 568144 stating the name of your counsellor, time of your appointment and any other information you want to share.
If you miss two sessions in a row without giving any notice, then ‘first step’ will contact you to check if you want to continue with your counselling. After this, if you make an appointment but do not keep it ‘first step’ will assume that you want to stop your sessions. You can re-start your counselling when you feel able to, however we cannot guarantee that it will be the same counsellor.
Who are the face-to-face counsellors?
First Step has female and male counsellors, so we aim to give you a choice of counsellor whenever possible. All our counsellors have completed awareness training around the difficulties faced by male survivors of sexual abuse. Our counsellors are either fully qualified to a Diploma level or above, or students on a counselling placement working towards their Diploma. All attend regular supervision and follow British Association for Counselling Codes of Ethics and Practice for Counsellors and our own internal policies. Our services are confidential and all counsellors work within the ‘first step’ confidentiality policy.
Where are we
Where possible counselling sessions will take place in the same building, although use of the same room cannot be guaranteed. We are currently located in the city centre. Where necessary we are also able to offer the service at different locations if access is a problem.
How the service works
If you decide that counselling is what you want then you will be asked to wait until a counsellor is available to work with you. During this time you may contact the help-line for support.
Like other organisations that provide services, First Step keep records of contact made with all people that we help so that we can provide you with a good service. First Step will hold all contact details regarding client data within a secure database in line with the Data Protection Act (1998) and this will not be available to anyone other than the co-ordinator.
In exceptional circumstances, where the counsellor is concerned for your own or someone else’s well-being, they may find it necessary to seek help outside the counselling relationship. These exceptional circumstances include sharing information for legal reasons or where there is a concern for someone’s safety. The counsellor would always seek to gain your agreement to this.
Complaints, compliments and comments
Any of the above can be made by writing them down, or arranging to talk with the project co-ordinator of ‘first step’. A copy of our complaint procedure is available on request to you at any time.