Frequently Asked Questions


Please see our list of Questions below

Do I have to pay to access your services?Reveal

No.  All of our services are free of charge, apart from our Helpline which is at a local call rate.

What services do you offer?Reveal

We offer a confidential and anonymous Emotional Support Line; Emotional Support Email, Counselling Services, an ISVA Service, Trauma informed support groups and our Keystone Project to support parents or carers of children and/or young people who have experienced sexual violence. We also offer RSACC Training to professionals.

What is an ISVA service?Reveal

An ISVA is an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor; a trained specialist who offers non-judgemental, practical and emotional support to survivors of sexual abuse who are thinking of reporting to the police. To read more on this service go to: ISVA Support. If you would like to refer yourself, please call 01325 354119

How long can I receive ISVA support?Reveal

If you have reported to the police and your case is in the criminal justice system we offer you support throughout the whole process, for as long as it takes. However it is always your choice to engage with us and you can stop receiving support at any time.

Do I have to report to the police to access your ISVA service?Reveal

No. However, if you wish to report to the Police we can provide information about this process. We will respect whatever decision you make about whether to report or not. If you then decide not to report to the police, we can offer you support for a limited period of 3 months

Can I access the ISVA service if I am already engaged with another agency/other agencies?Reveal

If you feel that we are the right service to offer you support you can access our ISVA service regardless of whether you are engaged in other services.

If my case is being handled by a Police force outside of the RSACC area (Durham), can you still help me?Reveal

Our ISVAs can support sexual violence survivors living in Darlington and Co. Durham regardless of which Police force is handling your case. In the event of your case proceeding to a trial outside the County Durham area we will do our best to refer you to a local ISVA service for support at trial.

What is your counselling support?Reveal

Sexual violence survivors may not feel like talking to anyone at first but our counselling is available to anyone  no matter when the events took place. Our counselling is offered at a variety of locations across Darlington and County Durham. To read more on this service go to: CounsellingIf you would like to refer yourself, please call 01325 354119

What will happen at a counselling sessionReveal

Counselling sessions take place in a private setting and last up to an hour.  Your counsellor will help you establish what you need to focus on.  Counselling is about what works for you. Your counsellor won’t give you advice.  They will listen and help you to take back control of your life and move forward in your own time. Counselling can make you feel upset or can bring back memories, so after your session you might need some support or a bit of space.

What are the differences between Counsellors and ISVAS?Reveal

Counsellors and ISVAs support victims of sexual violence, but in different ways.

Counsellors offer 20 weekly 1-2-1 sessions to any survivor of sexual violence. ISVAs offer face to face support, but also over the telephone and via email. It’s typically tailored to meet the clients personal needs.

Where is the support given?Reveal

A session with a Counsellor can either be held at our Centre or one of our other sites in Durham. ISVAs can see you in a variety of professional settings which include: GP surgeries, children’s centres, our Centre etc.

How is the support different?Reveal

Counselling gives you time to explore emotions and thoughts on a deeper level. It can involve looking at the impact the sexual violence has had over time. It is also led by you, meaning it will go at your pace and will centre around what you want to get from it.

ISVAs can give some emotional support and help you understand the impact of the trauma, but also practical advice and information relating to the police investigation and the criminal justice system.

What will I get from it?Reveal

Counselling is about expressing your thoughts and feelings, exploring options, finding coping strategies and increasing your self-awareness. ISVAs aim to give the support and information you need so you feel able to attend court as a witness and give your evidence.

How will it help?Reveal

Counselling can help you build resilience, self-confidence and self-esteem. ISVAs look to build a trusting and supportive relationship with you, so you will feel able to attend court. They can also refer clients on for additional support, such as counselling, if needed.

Can I/do I have to talk about what happened?Reveal

Counselling is a safe place to speak more openly about sexual violence and the impact it has had on you. ISVAs don’t discuss any evidence relating to the investigation. Instead, ISVAs provide a confidential space for clients to discuss the investigation process and the impact of this.

What is your Emotional Support Line?Reveal

We have an Emotional Support Line open during specified times during the week which provides anonymity as well as an opportunity to talk about any distress you may be experiencing or any issues of concern. This service may be used in times of need and calls can last up to an hour. To read more information on our Support Line and to check opening times, go to: Emotional Support Line

What is your Emotional Support Email?Reveal

Our Emotional Support Email, lets you contact us for confidential emotional and practical support via a secure email address. You will then receive a response in up to 7 days. To read more information on our Support Email and  go to: Emotional Support Email

Do you support men and boys?Reveal

Yes, men and boys can access our counselling, our Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) service and our Emotional Support Line and our Emotional Support Email.

Do your Counsellors, ISVAs and Helpline team have experience and training in supporting male survivors?Reveal

Yes, our team of women are both experienced and fully trained in their roles. We know that men who have experienced sexual violence may have unique worries or fears, and face certain barriers. We aim to provide the best support to any survivor, regardless of gender.

What other support is available to men and boys?Reveal

There are also national services that specialise in supporting male survivors of sexual violence. These include:

Survivors UK – offers a range of support services including counselling and therapy appointments as well as online chat. All services are provided by trained professionals who as specialists in the field of male sexual violence have helped many men to work through their experiences. It has an national, online Helpline available through its website.

Male Survivors Partnership – A partnership of several organisations dedicated to male survivors. They offer web chat and telephone support services as well as being a resource for location specific services. Their telephone helpline is 0808 800 5005

Do you have women-only spaces?Reveal

Yes. Our definition of women only includes trans women and non-binary people who identify women’s services as being right for them. We have a women only space available for counselling in Darlington and also all our groups are women only spaces.

Are your services confidential?Reveal

Your support is confidential but there are times when we will have to pass certain information onto a third party, such as the police, social services or your GP. These are if:

  • You are actively suicidal.
  • You plan to hurt someone else.
  • You tell us of a child or adult who is at risk of being harmed.
  • You tell us about acts of terrorism.

We will always try to discuss this with you first, support you to have the discussion with the relevant service yourself, and keep you informed. However, if the situation is serious and you are not willing to pass on the information, then we may have to break confidentiality. If you are using more than one of our services we may have to share information about you within our organisation. This will be done on a strictly ‘need-to-know’ basis.

Where do the sessions take place in Darlington and Co. Durham?Reveal

We have safe, comfortable, counselling rooms in the centre of Darlington and in two venues in Durham City. If you prefer to use the telephone or video calls we can arrange this type of support with one of our counsellors.

Do you accept referrals?Reveal

We accept referrals from survivors and from other organisations, who have the person’s permission.  We have a waiting list and stay in regular contact with survivors while they wait for our services. To make a referral or to find out more contact us.

Can I access more than one service at the same time?Reveal

  • Can I access more than one service at the same time?

Yes. We believe it is up to you to decide which is the right kind of support for you. That may be a mix of our services at the same time or it may be that you chose to only use one of our services.  You can also use different services at different times in your life.  We are here for you when you need us.

Who will support me?Reveal

All our frontline staff and volunteers are women (including trans women) . If you feel uncomfortable with this you can contact the service manager on who can discuss any concerns and how we can best support you.