Our team of specially trained counsellors understand the devastating impact rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse can have on your life.  You may be experiencing difficult thoughts or feelings that you have never felt before. These thoughts and feelings will be completely normal given what has happened.  You may want to understand and explore these feelings with someone in a safe, non-judgemental space.  

Our team of counsellors have been trained to work with people who have experienced rape, sexual violence and sexual abuse and all work within the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy Ethical Framework

We offer counselling to adults and young people aged 6+ who have experienced rape, sexual assault or sexual abuse, and meet the following criteria:

  • If you have experienced sexual assault or sexual violence either recently or in the past (regardless of whether you have reported to the police.)
  • If you have experienced historic on-going childhood sexual abuse and a report has been made to the police
  • If you do not fit the above criteria, please do contact us as we will be happy to discuss your case and facilitate a referral to the appropriate service(s).


Our counselling service is also extended to:

·        The primary carer(s) of children who have experienced a sexual assault and have accessed a service at the Centre.

·        The primary carer(s) of vulnerable adults who have experienced a sexual assault and have accessed a service at the Centre.

·        Siblings of child clients who have received a first disclosure and/or are a witness in a prosecution for sexual violence or abuse.

Your Crisis worker or ISVA will discuss the counselling service with you, or you can contact the team directly by calling 0161 276 6515.

Initial assessment

When you first contact (or are referred to) Saint Mary's SARC to request counselling, your referral will be triaged.  If, based on the information provided, you meet the above criteria, we will send you a telephone appointment for a counselling assessment. This offers the opportunity of ensuring this is the right service for you and that it will meet your needs. The counsellor will tell you more about the counselling service, ask you for some further details and carry out a risk assessment with you.

Following this, if appropriate, you will be placed on our waiting list to start counselling.  In some cases, the SARC counselling service will be unable to meet your current needs and it is important that we help you to access the appropriate services. We will discuss this with you and with your consent we will refer you to a more appropriate service.  If you are placed on the waiting list following your assessment, we will contact you again when you reach the top of that list.

Starting counselling

Once you have been offered and have accepted a regular counselling slot, you will be offered six sessions in the first instance and will see the same counsellor for each session. Usually, this appointment will take place on the same day and time each week.  In the unlikely event that your counsellor is unavailable due to sickness or unexpected absence, another counsellor will contact you to inform you. 

Your appointment will be for 50 minutes. The counsellors will keep counselling records that will be held confidentially at the Centre. We will not disclose this information without your consent unless we are ordered to so by a court judge or where we have concerns for your, or somebody else’s safety, however we will usually inform you if this is required.

Pretrial therapy

If your case goes to court, we are obliged to make the Crown Prosecution Service aware that you have had counselling. You may be asked by the investigating officer for consent for us to release these records. We will contact you and inform you that a request has been made and invite you to go through your counselling records with your counsellor. When you have been made aware of the content of the records and if you give your consent to disclosure, we will give a copy to the courts. Where you do not agree to disclosure, we will do whatever we can to prevent disclosure. However, we may be ordered to show them to the trial judge. We will attend the court and inform the judge of your request for confidentiality. The court Judge will make the decision as to the relevance of your notes in the court case.

How will I know if counselling is working?

Because counselling helps you identify your feelings around what has happened to you it can sometimes leave you feeling unsettled at first. Your counsellor will discuss this with you. The counsellor will ask you questions at regular times during your therapy which help you to see your progress; give you and your counsellor a clear focus and help us to evaluate the counselling service.

Evaluation of our services

We want to provide a service which supports people who have experienced sexual abuse, assault or violence. Your views are important to us. We have feedback forms which can be completed anonymous and posted into the feedback boxes available either in the examination or counselling suite, or if you wish to make any comments on our services, please contact the service manager or the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) as below.


The Old Saint Mary’s Hospital
York Place, Off Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9WL

0161 276 6515


The Chief Executive
CMFT Head Quarters, Cobbett House, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9WL

0161 276 8686


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