We offer specialist counselling for boys and young men aged 13-18 years who have experienced sexual abuse or other forms of sexual violence (e.g. rape, sexual assault or sexual exploitation). Experiences like this can leave you feeling angry, confused, disconnected, ashamed or mixed up. Some young people might use alcohol, drugs or relationships as a way of distracting themselves from difficult feelings – or as an attempt to feel nothing at all. Some may struggle to talk about what has happened. Some may worry about what it means for their future. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to feel after sexual abuse. However you feel is understandable. You don’t need to go through it alone.
Meeting us for an initial appointment
When you, or someone who is supporting you (e.g. a parent, carer, social worker or CAMHS practitioner) contacts First Step we will invite you to come in to the office for an initial assessment. This gives us the opportunity to talk with you (and with your parent/carer/supporter if that’s appropriate) and understand a little about what has happened and how we might help.
We’ll need some information (e.g. your GP details and whether you have any medical conditions or disabilities that it’s useful for us to know about). We will ask a little bit about what has brought you to First Step, but we won’t push for details. We know that it can be difficult to talk about these things, especially at first. If you go on to counselling you’ll have the space you need to talk about things at your own pace.
Making a decision
Towards the end of the session we will decide, together, whether counselling is the right option for you at this time. If it is, we will next contact you when a space is available to see a counsellor. If you’d like support but are not, yet, ready for counselling you’ll be offered some emotional support sessions.
Starting counselling or emotional support
We will contact you when there is a counsellor or Support Worker available to meet with you. We don’t keep long waiting lists, so this should be within a few weeks. We will discuss likely waiting times at your assessment, so you know what to expect.
When you start counselling you’ll meet for 1 hour at the same time and in the same place each week. This consistency can be a really important part of building up trust and feeling OK enough to talk. You can use the time to talk about whatever feels important to you to speak about – there is no pressure to talk in detail about what happened to you. It is your time and you can use it in a way that works for you. If that feels a bit overwhelming, remember that your counsellor is experienced in supporting young people with these kinds of issues and will help you through it.