Groups are an opportunity to give and receive support together with other survivors. It is a safe space to talk about what happened to you, if you want to. You don’t have to share anything you don’t want to, and anything you choose to share will stay confidential.
Under the current safety guidelines, we are running groups online for the foreseeable future with the aim of transitioning back to face to face groups later in the year when it becomes safe to do so.
What will happen at the group?
In the first session participants suggest and agree on areas they would most like to dedicate the group time to. The group would then explore these things further in whatever way they like over the following weeks. For example, participants might have agreed to look at ‘coping skills’ one week, and ‘anger’ another week.
Each week varies depending on what group members want, but would usually involve some discussion and simple, safe exercises such as drawing or writing. You don’t have to take part in anything you don’t feel comfortable with.
Who will be at the group?
Our groups are for survivors of any kind of sexual violence. There will be no more than 8 participants in total, as well as 2 support workers as facilitators.
Do I have to talk about what happened to me?
No. You can use the group to say as much or as little as you want, and you don’t have to share anything you don’t want to.
How do I know the group will be confidential?
At the first session, all members of the group will draw up ‘ground rules’, which will include confidentiality. Anyone can ask for a ground rule to be in place depending on what they need to make them feel safe. Everyone in the group agrees to the ground rules once they’ve been set.
What if I need to take a break?
In face to face groups there is a room available next door to the group room where participants can leave to if they need some time out, time alone, or one-to-one time with a facilitator during a group session. During online group work, there is the option of turning your camera and microphone off if you need some time out. This would be explored in the first group session.
How long will the group last?
Groups will run for a total of 10 or 12 weeks, with one group session per week. Each session lasts about 2 hours, with a short break in between.
How do I join a group?
We ask that anyone participating in group support has had some kind of one-to-one support before. This can be from any service and doesn’t need to be support from ERCC. If you’d like to join one of our groups or you’d like further information, you can contact our call back phone on 0131 556 9437. You can also email us directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I still feel very nervous about attending the first session
It is natural to be nervous attending group for the first time. It might be comforting to remember that most participants will be feeling the same way. The group facilitator will have arranged to meet in person or via video with all participants individually before the first group meeting – this is so you can talk about any thoughts you have, and have a better idea what to expect from group. You can tell one of the facilitators, or any worker at ERCC about any worries you might have around coming to group and they will support you with this.
Our support groups are an opportunity to both give and receive support. Survivors can share their feelings with others and suggest ideas based on what has worked for them. There is also the space to talk about what has happened to you, if you want to.
What survivors have told us about group support:
“I benefited immensely from the group – I could almost say it was a life-changing nine weeks. I only wish I had been aware of its availability and the amazing impact it would have on me years ago.”
“It helped me to open up, to face my fears and to realise I was stronger than I thought.”
“Knowing that I had that safe space each week really helped me to manage any difficult feelings I was experiencing in a safe and welcoming environment.”