Direct Support

Direct Support


Whichever option you choose to have support with us, our model of support is very much survivor centered. You are the expert in your own life and you will make decisions about how you would like your sessions to go, with the help and guidance of the woman who will be supporting you.

You will never be pressured into talking about anything you don't want to and the sessions will always go at your pace.

Direct support is available for survivors of sexual abuse aged 13 and over, for more details please see our who do we support page.


Specialist Support and Advocacy

 Our team of female Specialist Support Workers have specific skills and understanding of the impact of sexual abuse. All of our workers are very skilled in working with trauma and helping with specific symptoms such as flashbacks, panic attacks and nightmares.

Your Specialist Support Worker will take the time to understand which support would have the most positive impact and work with you to design a support plan to suit you.

This may include:

  • Information on the impacts of trauma.
  • Techniques for coping with flashbacks and nightmares and other responses to trauma.
  • Supporting you to access housing.
  • Supporting you to work with other services.
  • Writing letters or filling in forms.

Specialist Support is not Therapy or counselling, but rather a space to understand how trauma is impacting your life in the present, and explore tools and techniques to cope with the impact of trauma on your life.

You are welcome to share as much or as little about your experiences with your Specialist Support Worker, however they are not trained counsellors so they will not ask questions or work through processing memories with you. Your Specialist Support Worker can offer emotional support and focus on practical tools and strategies for coping with trauma. You do not have to tell your Specialist Support Worker anything about your experiences if you do not want to.



Group Work

 Our Group Work is delivered by our team of Specialist Support Workers who may be supported by one of our Volunteers. These are experienced women who understand the challenges you may face as a survivor. The Groups are a safe space to learn and connect with others.

In one of our small groups, you would look at things like:

  • Learning about trauma and trauma responses.
  • Developing self-care strategies and exploring resources.
  • Support to build your understanding of yourself and feel more empowered in your life.

Although our service supports all genders, our Group Work is slightly different. We currently run women only groups, although we hope to offer Group Work to other genders in the future.

Lots of people can feel nervous or unsure about joining a support group. Before you attend you will have the opportunity to visit us and meet the Specialist Support Worker who will be running the group, we will do our best to answer any questions or concerns you may have.



Therapeutic Support and Pre-Trial Therapy

Our team of Therapeutic Practitioners are all qualified counsellors who are trained and experienced in working with people affected by sexual violence.

Our trauma informed model of support means your sessions will be personal to you and your needs at the time, as we understand that everyone’s needs from therapeutic support will not be the same.

Therapeutic Support sessions may include:

  • Learning how trauma can affect the brain, looking at how you’re feeling and why (this is sometimes called Psychoeducation).
  • Talking through your experiences and feelings with support to make sense of what happened and the impact of the trauma.
  • Developing tools to reduce trauma symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks or anxiety.

Therapeutic Support sessions are offered through weekly hour long sessions. These can be held online, over the phone, or at one of our bases in Exeter, Torquay or Barnstaple (you can choose which works best for you).


Pre-Trial Therapy

Pre-trial Therapy is any kind of therapy that is accessed whilst there is any active police case (whether that is reported, under investigation, awaiting charge or awaiting a court date).

If you have reported or are planning to report to the police, you can still access therapeutic support with DRCSAS. We encourage people going through the Criminal Justice System to access the support they need. Guidance from the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) changed in 2022 meaning:

  • You can access therapeutic support whilst going through the criminal justice system.
  • You can talk about whatever you need to in your support sessions.
  • The police or CPS can only request to see very specific information from your notes, which relate directly to your police case.

All of our staff have received updated training around this new guidance and understand the importance of keeping minimal notes about your sessions.

If we receive a request for your notes from the police or CPS, we will always contact you to talk this through and get your consent. You will be able to view the notes and help us remove any unrelated information before we send them to the Police/CPS.

You can view our full Support Record Keeping and Pre-Trial Therapy Policy here.


To find out more about making a referral for Direct Support, please visit our Referrals Page here.