Lifecentre is a Sussex based charity that dedicates itself to supporting those whose lives have been devastated by the violation that is rape and sexual abuse through face-to-face counselling for male, female and child survivors and their supporters of all ages. These specialist counselling services are offered regardless of age, gender, religion, race, disability or background. We aim to support and serve as many survivors as possible through our; counselling, play therapy, national Freephone helpline, text helpline and the opportunity for email counselling. For survivors, each counselling session is a step towards a new lease on life. Where previously even the smallest of tasks would have been impossible, survivors feel able to tackle everyday life overcoming the effects of their abuse such as anxiety, eating disorders, depression and suicidal ideation. Many find that counselling allows them to reconnect with family, re-enter the workplace and have so much more confidence in their abilities.
A pilot project for young survivors of sexual abuse and rape, Surviving to Thriving means creating a peer to peer support movement to report abuse and access recovery help. Whilst on the counselling waiting list young survivors will receive help via new weekly support groups called Pods. Delivered by a counsellor for 4 survivors per group for an hour, reducing isolation, providing friendship opportunities, set counselling goals and teach healthy coping alternatives to self- harm, addiction, suicidal ideation.
Our service is so valuable to our young people, with them often unsure of where to turn, and who to talk to in order to have someone who 'gets it'. Our feedback in 2019 showed us that at the end of counselling:
- 77% of young people were coping better emotionally
- 75% of young people had improvement in their depression levels
- 69% of young people had improved levels of self confidence
- 67% of young people were having fewer suicidal thoughts
- 73% of young people were evidencing improved relationships
- 76% of young people had improved levels of self harm
- 88% of young people felt safer
- 90% of young people had benefited from counselling
It can be really hard for young people to commit to counselling, it seems really scary! This is where our pods come in. We aim to bring young people in for support in a way that seems less intimidating in a relaxed setting. By having other survivors of a similar age in the group, it can really help them all to feel more comfortable - knowing that there are people out there who feel a similar way to them. Often, rape and sexual abuse can leave young people isolated and feeling alone, something that attending pods would help to combat by allowing survivors the chance to make new friends somewhere safe.