First Step is the only specialist provider of support to male survivors of sexual abuse in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. We support survivors aged 13 and above; abuse maybe historic or recent and the overwhelming proportion of clients present with historical abuse.
Our services have been built around understanding the barriers males face with disclosing their abuse, seeking help and accepting support. We offer a swift response to all referrals by offering flexible opening times including four late evenings (until 8:00pm) a week.
Our key service is face-to-face counselling together with emotional support and advocacy work. Our support enables men to move on from the negative impact sexual abuse has had on their lives. For instance our evaluation data shows 62% definitely agree and 23% agree with the statement 'they feel more hopeful about the future', 44% definitely agree and 36% agree with the statement 'I have developed better coping strategies'. Comments from clients include 'I came to you in a time of self-doubt and not feeling good about myself, I leave confident and don't feel angry anymore about my past'.
In 2018/19 we received 121 referrals and delivered 2,487 counselling or support sessions. The number of sessions delivered, and average sessions/client, have all been increasing over the last five years relating to the increasing complexity of issues that survivors of historical sexual abuse present with.
The majority of our delivery is weekly face-to-face counselling delivered by 33 BACP registered volunteer counsellors, this is initially for 6 months though it can be extended where necessary. We also provide emotional support for those not in a position to engage with counselling services and advocacy support where clients face particular issues (eg difficulties with welfare benefits). We are in the process of re-developing our service for 13 to 18-year olds which includes art, music and play therapy, work with schools and the wider family.