Females Aged 18+ CSA Survivors
CIS’ters was set up as a self help group for females age 18+ who, as female children, were sexually abused/raped by a member of their immediate/extended family. We also provide emotional support to female survivors of CSA who were abused outside of the familial setting.
The following section outlines the services offered by CIS’ters – and we can also signpost or refer to services which might be geographically closer.
Membership Of CIS’ters
Within this section you will find information on what CIS’ters offers as a service to survivors and where we are unable to offer a direct service, information on how you might access other specialist services.
Please note that CIS’ters only accepts self referrals. This is an indication to us of an individual's willingness to engage with a survivor-led service.
Full Membership – we were primarily set up to provide emotional support for adult females that had been raped/sexually abused/exploited (as female children/teens) by a member of their immediate/extended family. Survivors within this category are offered Full Membership (we prefer this term to that of ‘Service User'.)
Associate Membership – increasingly we are being contacted by adult females that have been raped/sexually abused/exploited (as female children/teens) but the abuser was NOT a member of their immediate/extended family. Survivors within this category are now offered Associate Membership.
Membership also entitles survivors to a copy of our Newsletter. Our Newsletters include information of interest to our membership and they can also submit articles for inclusion. We aim to publish this quarterly depending on available resources. Individuals who are NOT Members of CIS’ters and also organisations, can apply to subscribe to the newsletter.
We also host Member Group Meetings
CIS’ters approach is to offer female survivors the opportunity to meet other women within a group context and within an empowerment model. Meetings vary in focus/type and include an Annual Residential Weekend Workshop. Currently all meetings are held in Hampshire due to limited resources and are facilitated and survivor-led.
In addition we can provide some (limited) Information / Advocacy.
As appropriate, CIS’ters can signpost our Members to other specialist services, or provide referral pathways to services such as ISVAs (Independent Sexual Violence Advocates) in other organisations.
We consider that Feedback from our Members is Important.
CIS’ters is survivor-led in that at least 50% of our trust Board are survivors (and concurrently Members of CIS’ters) with a casting vote. Feedback is actively sought from within membership and has led to additional services such as our monthly Drop In Sessions being implemented and the inclusion of specific topics at our Annual Residential Weekend Workshop, plus elsewhere.
We do NOT provide specialist counselling. CIS’ters does not, currently, deliver 1:2:1 counselling, as our focus is on peer-group work. We use an empowerment model for our peer group work. However, we can and do signpost survivors to their local specialist service if an individual is seeking 1:2:1 counselling.
If a survivor is a Member of CIS’ters we can refer them to other services if asked to and the Member has granted permission to do so.
If you are seeking 1:2:1 counselling we can refer or signpost you to your nearest specialist counselling service, using information found within the following two websites. The reason we need to look-up two websites is because, as yet, there is no national comprehensive database. These two umbrella organisations list only their organisational members and so, whilst there might appear to be a gap (in your area), it might be filled by searching the other database. www.thesurvivorstrust.org and www.thesurvivorstrust.org/independent-sexual-violence-advisers