STARS is a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service for children, young people and their families who have been affected by sexual abuse.
Our purpose is to ensure that anyone referred to CAMHS who has experienced sexual abuse receives an appropriate service which meets their therapeutic needs, improves their emotional wellbeing and helps them to achieve their full potential.
By providing a timely and appropriate response to sexual trauma, we aim to improve the short and long term impact on CAMHS and adult mental health services.
- We provide specialist therapy and support for children, young people and families, who have been affected by sexual trauma, offering both individual and group therapy.
- Child Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (CISVA) service offering support through the criminal investigation process.
- Therapeutic group work for female carers.
- We also provide consultation and training to other professionals working with cases of sexual abuse.
- We work closely with ACT and the Solace Centre where appropriate
The STARS team is based at Ramsay House, Richmond Crescent, West Park, Epsom, Surrey, KT19 8PH.
Child Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (CISVA) service
- The CISVA offer support for children and families during a police investigation. The CISVA will start things off with a home visit to see how things are going and to make plans on how best to offer you support. The CISVA will offer practical support and advice and will liaise with the other agencies involved with your child and family.
- They can provide a simple explanation of the CISVA process and justice system, whilst liaising between you and other agencies, such as the police, Crown Prosecution Service, social care, Youth Support Service, sexual health clinic, Witness Service, as well as school or college.
We know from experience that children and young people who have been affected by sexual abuse find it really helpful to meet other people who have been through similar experiences
Groups for children and young people
The group will meet for 12-15 weeks after school and it aims to help young people who have been affected by sexual abuse talk about their feelings and worries.
Young people meet with peers of a similar age and gender to share their thoughts, feelings and experiences. The group helps people think about how the abuse has affected them and their families, how they are feeling now, how to deal with difficulties like nightmares, feeling anger or blame and to think about how to cope and move forward. It’s not all talking though — there are practical things like drawing or making things too.
Groups for female carers
The carers group is an 8-10 week programme that aims to help female carers of sexually abused children and young people.
The group helps its members to think about how the abuse has affected them, their child and their family, how they are feeling now, how to deal with any difficulties their child may be experiencing or presenting and how to cope in a positive way. We acknowledge that it's difficult to come along to a group like this, but we know it can really help.
Our 1-to-1 work
The STARS team can work with children and young people on a 1:1 basis as well as in a group.
Individual therapy for children and young people
All therapy starts with an assessment of the child or young person’s therapeutic needs. We will offer to meet you at home and then set up weekly sessions at our Epsom base or another local clinic if possible. We offer a variety of different therapies: play therapy, drama therapy, talking therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing), art therapy, CBT and DBT informed therapeutic work.
Individual therapy sessions for children and young people who have attended a STARS group:
Sometimes people feel that they need a bit more help to think about things after a group has finished and sometimes having someone to one time with a therapist is needed to work through some trickier issues or things that the group did not cover. Any child or young person who has been to a STARS group can continue having individual sessions afterwards, if they need it.
One-off home visits to parents and carers of children who have been sexually abused:
A member of the STARS team can visit you at home or see you in a clinic to offer short term advice and support. The things we tend to cover and help you with are:
- Talking to your child about what has happenedUnderstanding and managing challenging behaviour
- Talking about your experiences and gaining emotional supportUnderstanding systems including the criminal justice process and family proceedingsUnderstanding the impact of sexual abuseUnderstanding more about how abusers operate and how parents can make good and informed choices to protect and best meet the needs of their children.
Solace & ACT
We work closely with the Solace Centre as for many families, this is the first place they visit when a child tells about sexual abuse.
The Solace Centre, also known as a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), provides local communities with a safe, discreet and caring environment to support victims of rape and sexual assault.
The Solace Centre is able to:
- Perform a forensic examination by a specialist forensic doctor
- Provide crisis support at your initial visit and arrange follow up appointments
- Provide telephone advice
- Provide independent advocacy and support with practical matters
- Introduce other support services, such as Rape Crisis and Victim Support
Every child or young person who goes to the Solace Centre is offered a visit by a member of the STARS team, to make sure that they have the support they need when things are difficult. In particular, we can talk with you about the kinds of therapy you can have if you need it.
Assessment Consultation Therapy (ACT) is a team in Surrey County Council's Children, Schools and Families Service which aims to reduce sexual abuse by children and young people by providing Assessment, Consultation and Therapy. STARS work closely with ACT to make sure that children and young people get the right kind of therapeutic help.
Consultation & training
The STARS team is happy to offer consultation on any sexual abuse cases to professionals both within the CAMHS service and from other agencies.
We often work with social workers and schools to help them think about how best to meet the needs of sexually abused children, young people and their families. We offer consultation over the phone or we can come to see you to talk in more detail.
We also provide support to all the CAMHS teams in Surrey by offering:
- Short term joint working with CAMHS colleagues
- Support and consultation to CAMHS clinicians and to external professionals working with sexual abuse cases
- Training for people working with children who have been affected by sexual abuse.
We also provide training to professionals working with children and young people. We deliver multi-agency training for the Surrey Safeguarding Children Board, as well as bespoke training courses to groups of professionals as requested.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss accessing some specialist training in working with sexual abuse.
How to make a referral
We accept referrals directly from young people, carers or other professionals.
- You can call us directly on 01372 203096, or email email@example.com, to make a referral or just to talk things through.
- Alternatively, you can refer via CAMHS SPA.
- Solace Centre, also known as the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) - 0300 130 3038
- Childline - 0800 1111
- NSPCC - 0808 8005000
- Samaritans - 116 123 - firstname.lastname@example.org
In case of a crisis, please contact:
- CAMHS SPA: 0300 222 5755. Open 8am - 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am -12pm Saturday.
- Outside of these hours, you can call EDT on 01483 517898, between the hours of 5pm – 11pm. Or in the case of an emergency, call 999.