PLEASE NOTE – due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are unable to offer face-to-face counselling sessions to ensure the health and well-being of our staff and clients. All counselling sessions will take place via telephone or video call until further notice.

Our free and confidential counselling service aims to give survivors of sexual violence a safe space where you can have the time and peace needed to think and talk things through. Our hope is this will help you on your way to regaining a sense of control over your own life.

Who is the service for?

Our counselling service is available for survivors of rape, child sexual abuse or any form of sexual violence of any age (children aged 5 years and over) from across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who have visited a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (The Elms SARC) at some point.

Haven’t visited a Sexual Assault Referral Centre at any point? Our funding is very sporadic, so please contact our Counselling Team to find out if we are able to offer counselling at this time.

The way we work

Once we receive your referral (see below), we can offer you a set amount of counselling sessions with a qualified and experienced counsellor.

All our counsellors are women and all sessions are free of charge.

We have a client-centred, non-directive approach as we believe that each survivor’s experience is different and that survivors are experts in their own healing.

You don’t have to talk about anything you are not ready to talk about and your counsellor will not judge you or tell you what to do. She will help you to try to make sense of what has happened to you and explore the ways in which you may feel differently about yourself and your relationships.

Counselling is not a magic wand and cannot make all the pain disappear. Sometimes you may feel good and positive and at other times you may feel upset and angry. It is important to take care of yourself, especially just before and after your sessions as you will probably be thinking about and speaking about some difficult memories and experiences.


You can refer yourself – ‘self-refer’ – for our counselling service by completing our online form:

Click here for self-referral

Alternatively, you can ask the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (The Elms SARC) to refer you – ‘professional referral’ – to our counselling service. They will need to complete this form:

Click here for professional referral

All referrals go through our partnership – Cambridge and Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership.

Contact us

If you have any queries or are unsure as to whether you are eligible for our counselling service, please contact the Counselling Team and we will help guide you through your options.

Counselling FAQs

Our counsellors are well qualified and experienced in working with women and girls who have experienced sexual violence. We adhere to the ethical guidelines of the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy). All our counsellors are female.

If you have visited The Elms SARC at any point, you can download and fill in the self-referral form and send it back to us. If you prefer to speak to our Counselling Co-ordinator before referring yourself, you can email us on or call our office on 01223 313551. You can also contact us to ask us to email or post the self-referral form and a return envelope to you.

You can complete the online professional referral form at the Cambridge & Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership website. For any questions about the service, please contact us.

Our waiting lists can vary by location and it changes throughout the year. Generally the waiting time is around four months, but it can be a little bit more or less than that. We make sure to tell you the current waiting time when you are referred and will be in touch when you are getting close to the top of the waiting list.

First of all we will arrange for you to meet with your counsellor to talk about what you want from the service and what we can offer you. We will try our best to be flexible and to arrange your appointments for times that suit you. You can see your counsellor every week usually at the same time on the same day. Your counselling appointments will last for 50 minutes each time.

If you are struggling financially, we are able to make a reasonable contribution towards the costs of travel.

We try to be flexible when arranging your appointments, so if your child is at school we will ensure that your appointment has finished by the time the school day is over. If you need to use childcare to be able to attend appointments and you are struggling financially, we are able to make a reasonable contribution towards the costs of someone looking after your child.

Our counselling service supports anyone who lives in Cambridgeshire and has experienced sexual violence, irrespective of age, gender, background, or how long ago the offence happened.

Due to demands on the counselling service, we are not able accept repeat referrals or returners unless there is a compelling reason. If you would like to discuss this with our Counselling Co-ordinator, you can email

We regret that our funding only allows us to provide the service for women and girls who live in Cambridgeshire. If you live in another county, you can contact your nearest Rape Crisis Centre to find out more about their counselling service, or you can get in touch with us at to find out more.

We only have limited availability for evening appointments, so the waiting list for these can be up to a year. We do not have any appointments available at the weekend.

We are happy to write a letter of support for your employer to request they allow you take time out from work to attend counselling appointments if you feel this would be helpful. We understand that some women are not comfortable with speaking to their managers about what has happened to them.

Peterborough Rape Crisis’s waiting list is currently closed, however, they will update their website should this service open again. Click here to go to their website If you have any questions about the service, you can contact Peterborough Rape Crisis directly on 01733 225937.

All staff and volunteers at Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre are DBS checked and have signed a confidentiality agreement. Our records are stored in locked cabinets with restricted access. If the police request a copy of our counselling records, we would ask for your permission before releasing them.

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