Since 2020, First Step has been working in partnership with the Prison Service, Juniper Lodge – SARC and the NHS to deliver a specialist counselling service for male prisoners who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse and sexual assault. This service is currently being delivered at two prisons in the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland area as a pilot project – HMP Stocken and HMP Leicester.
Ministry of Justice research tells us that male prisoners are 30% more likely to be survivors of childhood sexual abuse compared to the general male population yet are less likely to seek support for their trauma. Our specialist counsellor has supported over 60 men in these two secure estates over the last two years. This includes both working with men in prison and on release in the community to support reintegration and reduce re-offending.
The project is currently being independently evaluated and a final report will be published in March 2023.
Feedback from clients
‘I’ve made so much good progress. I’ve made such a big step forwards from where I’ve come from to where I am now. I’m worried about it ending. The biggest disappointment is not getting enough of this, these sessions. ‘
‘The flashbacks and images were constant before starting, my anxiety levels were very high, I wasn’t myself. I was told it [counselling] would help but I wasn’t sure. It has done me a lot of good and helped me process it. I used my grounding stuff and breathing to get rid of the images. Thank you, it’s helped me.’
‘For the first time I understand why I’m making the same mistakes and why I feel the way I do. Nobody has ever listened to me like this before and I have never felt able to say what had happened to me before. For the first time I want things to be different for me and think I might be able to do it.’