Safety and first aid

Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) counselling questions

SARC provides counselling from outreach centres throughout the Perth metropolitan area. Sometimes there is a short delay before you will be offered your first appointment. The delays depend on the demand in the individual centres but could be up to several weeks.

You will be prioritised if you are 16 years of age or younger or if you are very distressed and waiting for an appointment would not be in your best interests. When you contact SARC, the duty counsellor will ask you a number of questions and this will help us decide how soon you should be offered an appointment. It will also help us to determine whether your needs are best met by SARC or whether you should be seen at another service.

How many times do I need to see a counsellor?

SARC can provide 12 to 15 counselling sessions with a social worker or psychologist. You could also be offered up to 25 sessions with a clinical psychologist.

Some people choose to see their counsellor for many sessions while others choose to finish the counselling after just a few sessions. Generally people continue with sessions until they feel they have resolved the issue which prompted them to seek counselling.

Do I have to talk about things I would rather keep to myself?

No. It is your right to choose what you do or do not want to talk about in counselling. You will not be pressured to reveal information you choose to keep to yourself. It is important that you give your counsellor feedback during sessions. If you are not comfortable talking about a particular topic, then you can say so.

In counselling you can talk about the issues that are affecting your life. Your counsellor will encourage you to look at your strengths and work with you to identify better ways for dealing with issues that are concerning you. It is not always relevant to explore what has happened in your past.

I have never spoken about this before. Will I have to tell the police?

No, you do not have to report to the police. This is a personal decision that only you can make.

Many people who attend counselling do not initially want to take legal action against the abuser, but sometimes they change their mind. The counsellor will support your decision whatever this may be.

See also What to do if you want to report sexual assault to the police.

Does seeing a counsellor mean I am a failure because I can’t solve my own problems?

No. Seeing a counsellor means that you have the courage and determination to address your problems. Everyone experiences problems from time to time and needs help to resolve them. Some may need to discuss their legal problems with a lawyer or address their dental problems through a visit to a dentist. Seeing a counsellor is no different.

Where to get help

Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC)

  • 24 hour emergency line for recent sexual assault – phone 9340 1828 or 1800 199 888 (free from land line only)
  • Emergency telephone counselling between 8.30am and 11.00pm daily – phone 9340 1828

Alternatively

  • In an emergency situation, go to the nearest hospital emergency department
  • See your doctor

Acknowledgements

Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC)


This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

Link to HealthyWA Facebook page