Q. Is the service just for women?
A. No, the service is available to both men and women, however we do provide a women only space on one day each week.

Q. Will I see a male or female counsellor/ISVA?
A. You will be offered a choice of either female or male worker.

Q. Do you have an age limit for clients?
A. We work with anyone over the age of 14.

Q. How many counselling sessions can I have?
A. Counsellors will work with you at your own pace and review your progress at regular intervals up to a maximum of 26 sessions.

Q. Will an advisor come to see me at home?
A. If you’re working with an ISVA or LESA they can visit you at your home, or you can make an appointment to come to our office in Middlesbrough. All of  our counselling takes place at our centre in Middlesbrough, however if access is a problem we can arrange to see you at the SARC, in North Ormesby.

Q. Do I have to be referred to you by my G.P?
A. Some clients may be referred to us by their GP, the Police or other agencies, however you do not need to be referred via a GP or agency, you can either use the online self-referral form on our website or visit the contact page for alternative methods.

Q. How long does it take to get an appointment with a counsellor?
A. A member of  the Arch Referral Team will make initial contact with you to gain your verbal consent and complete the referral,  then within 7 working days a member of our counselling team will be in touch and will be able to advise you of the current waiting time for appointments

Q. Can I email you?
A. If you’d like to make an initial enquiry or find out more information then you may email us if you wish. We do not offer any of our support services over email.

Q. I am disabled, will this prevent me from accessing the service?
A. No we can arrange to see you in a venue with disabled access, each client’s needs are considered on an individual basis.

Q. Is the service open to LGBT people?
A. Arch responds to people in their self-defined gender rather than in the gender assigned to them at birth. Our workers will never judge or scrutinise anyone’s sexuality and will always use a person’s preferred pronoun.

Q. Is the service open to people from BME communities ?
A. At Arch we understand the complexities of sexual abuse in BME communities and the barriers faced by those within them when accessing support. Arch is here to listen, believe and provide free and confidential support by staff who understand the values of different cultures. We can support men and women. Arch provides training and resources for staff to ensure that they are aware of the cultural needs.

Q. Can family or friends of the victim/survivor access support ?
A. At Arch we understand that if you are supporting someone who has experienced rape or sexual abuse you may need some support yourself. You can do this by contacting us and will be able to talk to you about what support services are available to you

Q: Can I access counselling if there is an ongoing investigation or trial date set?
A: Yes. ARCH has a protocol with both the Police and C.P.S. (Crown Prosecution Service) to allow counselling during an investigation or before a trial. The needs of our clients always comes first.

MYTH: The Police won’t believe me

FACT: The Police take all reports of rape and sexual assault seriously, irrespective of whether you are male, female, young or old, or how long ago the attack occurred.

MYTH: Most rapists are strangers

FACT: Because the media has to give anonymity in media appeals for witnesses, many people think that most rapes are undertaken by strangers in dark alleyways late at night. The truth is that in most cases the victim already knew their attacker; it may have been a friend, an acquaintance, someone they just met, or even a family member.

MYTH: An individual was raped because of what they were wearing and how they were acting

FACT: How an individual is dressed or how they were acting (e.g. acting flirtatiously or dancing provocatively), does not mean they deserve to be the victim of an act of violence.

MYTH: -People involved in sex work can’t be raped – it’s just an occupational hazard.

FACT: Sex workers can be raped, the same as everybody else. Consent still matters when a sexual exchange is arranged. Conditional consent is agreeing to one thing but not everything, if no consent is given, it’s still rape. if sex is agreed with a condom and that condom is removed, consent is removed, this is rape.  People involved in sex work still have a choice.

MYTH: Women frequently lie about rape

FACT: A major Home Office research project in 2000-2003 concluded that only three per cent of rape allegations were false. In fact, it is thought that only one fifth of actual rapes are reported to the police.

MYTH: All rape victims will have visible injuries like cuts and bruises and torn clothes

FACT: The fact that there is no visible evidence of violence does not mean that a victim has not been assaulted or raped. Victims are often threatened with violence or weapons, and they take decisions to limit the harm being done to them. This may include limiting their resistance due to the fear of further violence. Shock or fear of the attacker might also cause victims to freeze during an attack.

MYTH: Male rape is a gay crime

FACT: Research indicates that the majority of sexual offences committed on men are carried out by heterosexual men.

MYTH: A victim should be discouraged from dwelling on the rape. She should ‘forget it’.

FACT: This advice generally comes from people who are more concerned with their own feelings than the victim’s.  All victims should be offered the opportunity to talk about the assault with those personally close to them and knowledgeable professionals. Victims who are not allowed to talk about the rape have a much more difficult time recovering from it.

MYTH: Male rape doesn’t happen

FACT: Men can also be victims of sexual assault and rape.