Chester Sexual Abuse Support Service

Chester Sexual Abuse Support Service

At a glance


  • Community safety / victim support / domestic violence
  • Counselling / advice
  • Local / community
  • Men
  • Women

Other details

Organisation type: 
Geographical remit: 


Chester Sexual Abuse Support Service (CSASS) transforms the lives of adult survivors of sexual violence and abuse, through free specialist counselling, telephone supportline, LiveChat and groupwork.  In partnership with others, we reach survivors within under-represented communities, developing new ways of working. Our prevention work challenges the attitudes and behaviour that lead to sexual violence. CSASS have supported survivors in the Chester area since 2011. 

Survivors lives are affected by recent or historic rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicidal feelings, substance misuse or social isolation. Many survivors delay seeking help, unaware of support available, finding it inaccessible or feeling shame or fear they will not be believed. These delays compound and embed issues, leading to longer term, complex needs.

A recent counselling client described the impact of our work ‘I have been in counselling scenarios before,however none have left me feeling so accomplished and confident . . . I could fully work through my emotions with a guiding hand . . . it has helped me . . . to continue my studies as a law student. . .I am able to make major life choices for myself and practice self-care without confusing it with being selfish. I am able to pursue romantic relationships if I wish and understand, as well as accept, I am able to create boundaries and say no to anything I am uncomfortable with. I am no longer plagued with thoughts of my abuse every day.’

We are affiliated to Rape Crisis England and Wales (RCEW) and adhere to their National Standards. We are also an organisational member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).


Our goals are:

1 Survivors are making progress towards recovery

2 Survivors and supporters have the confidence and information needed to access support

3 The causes of sexual violence are challenged

4 We have the resources and knowledge we need to be effective, safe, sustainable and accountable

Our Theory of Change describes what we do to meet these goals:

Our small staff team supports skilled volunteers and freelancers delivering high impact services in the Chester area. In partnership with others, we reach survivors within under-represented communities, developing new ways of working.  Survivor-led projects prevent sexual violence, challenging attitudes and behaviour that lead to sexual violence. We provide some women-only spaces and services as well as inclusive services for survivors of any gender or none.  We empower survivors to take back control of their lives, to cope, and to recover.

Each week we support around 30 survivors with free specialist counselling. Day and evening sessions are held on-line or at our city centre base, and continue until the client is ready to leave, without a fixed number of sessions. Counselling is delivered by BACP registered counsellors, who attend monthly specialist sexual-violence training or support meetings. Most are volunteers, alongside several experienced freelance counsellors. 

Our anonymous supportline and on-line LiveChat service runs two evenings a week, providing emotional support and information to survivors – including those waiting for counselling.  Groups currently include a weekly social and craft drop-in (on-line or blended) and an on-line course of structured wellbeing sessions.  Survivors increasingly shape our offer – for example, Walk and Talk activities were suggested, and have brought all the benefits of nature, physical activity and Covid safety to a group.

Outreach activities include long term work creating a culture in local schools where the causes of sexual violence are routinely challenged, innovative arts installations, organising a vigil to remember victims of sexual violence, and delivering training to help professionals support and sign-post survivors.  Outreach volunteers are often survivors and beneficiaries, and might run a sponsored event, hold a stall at Chester Pride or promote key messages on social media. Our Outreach programme works with survivors developing work like this video, reaching survivors in the Deaf community:


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