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Accessing counselling services when part of an open case

(22 Posts)
Legal123 Thu 21-Mar-19 17:32:25

Hello,

I'm not sure if I'm posting in the correct place, I hope someone can help or point me in the right direction. I have name changed for this post, although lurk more than I post anyway.

2 years ago I was taken off the street and raped. I was dropped at a hospital and the police were called. I went through all the necessary prodecures, etc. I was given an ISVA (independent sexual violence advisor), who basically helped me through the investigation processes. I was told I was not allowed to speak to my ISVA about any actual details of the case. My ISVA also told me I was not allowed to access counselling (the same organisation has a counselling service that I have accessed previously), unless I was extremely struggling in which case they could arrange some kind of pre court counselling where I still could not really discuss the case.

After about a year, my case was closed (I wasn't even notified by the police - my ISVA chased them up again and again and eventually found out a week later). However, I received a call a couple of days later to say my case had been re-opened due to another person coming forward with the same accusations against the same person. My (and the other persons?) case has since gone to CPS - it's coming up to another year now and I have not heard a single thing. I am not in contact with an ISVA, and the police have certainly not bothered to update me as promised - I am working on getting info ASAP.

Recently, I have been to the doctors due to depression and anxiety resurfacing, but not necessarily due to this case. My doctor has referred me to the in house counsellor, but am I allowed to do this? If I have counselling, do I have to not mention what happened to me, and only talk about other things? As I've said, it's not necessarily concerning this case, but of course it plays a part in my depression and is likely to come up.

I really need help but don't know if I'm allowed to have help because, as far as I know it is an open case.I was also told anything I say can and will be dragged up in court of it goes to court. Please could someone help with this, or tell me who can help?

Sorry if there's a lot of unessecary information, I've tried to make sure anything needed is included.

Thank you.

kimlo Thu 21-Mar-19 19:17:42

you need to speek to the police, but while it's at cps and theres a chance you could be a witness then you probably can't.

Legal123 Thu 21-Mar-19 19:30:20

Thank you, I do plan to speak to them but getting in touch is very very difficult. I need to sort my mental health out for my baby, and at this point I just wish the case was over whatever the outcome.

Collaborate Thu 21-Mar-19 20:08:50

AFAIK there's nothing to stop you getting counselling. Wy should you suffer just because of this?

kimlo Thu 21-Mar-19 20:18:18

unfortunatly thats not true.

It's shit, but it's the way it is.

kbPOW Thu 21-Mar-19 23:15:01

You will need to seek permission so it doesn't jeopardise your case. I'm so sorry you're in this position. Best wishes to you.

Collaborate Fri 22-Mar-19 00:15:51

@kimlo What law prevents OP from getting the help she needs?

Collaborate Fri 22-Mar-19 00:17:16

It's just that i can't believe that someone with depression is somehow prevented from seeking counselling treatment simply because they have been the victim of a crime.

bitheby Fri 22-Mar-19 00:46:05

This is awful. I had no idea that this is the law. I would've hoped that you could have a confidential relationship with a trained therapist that had nothing to do with anything else. Disgusted that this is the situation.

Hope you manage to find some resolution soon.

1Wanda1 Fri 22-Mar-19 01:10:22

You do not need "permission" to seek counselling. It may affect how much weight is given to your evidence in court if you have had counselling, as the defence can argue that the counselling has caused your memory of the events to change/become unreliable, but that is a risk you have to weigh up against the risk of your mental health deteriorating because of the trauma you have experienced and which is unresolved for you.

Ideally, you would inform the investigating officer / CPS before starting counselling, but if they do not return your calls, there isn't much you can do other than what is best for you.

I'm sorry that you have experienced this and hope you can find a way to move through the trauma and past it.

Gingerkittykat Fri 22-Mar-19 01:25:03

I am a trainee therapist.

The issue is to do with confidentiality, if the defence find out you are in counselling then they may demand copies of any counselling notes or call the counsellor to court. They will be looking for any information, even minor inconsistencies, to discredit you.

Having orders from the court is one of the few times a counsellor is legally obliged to break confidentiality.

I would try to get in touch with the IVSA again to ask for clarification. If you do see a counsellor then tell them the ongoing legal situation the first session and ask their advice. Contacting a specialist agency like rape crisis or victim support could also be more helpful as they will have more knowledge on the subject than me.

I'm really sorry you have gone through this, not only the original trauma but also the distressing legal process.

kbPOW Fri 22-Mar-19 07:03:47

It's not primarily to do with confidentiality - although it is correct that notes could be subpoenaed and the therapist called. It's what @1Wanda1 says. Do contact an ISVA again and they will usually talk to the police/CPS. It's not a law that prevents a person from doing this - it's the consequences for the legal process and reduction in the (already poor) chances of getting a conviction.

Collaborate Fri 22-Mar-19 07:31:31

So, to recap, OP can seek therapy, and need not run it by the police or the CPS first. OP must be aware that notes of the therapy may have to be disclosed, but it's wrong to say that she cannot do this or that she will need to seek permission.

kbPOW Fri 22-Mar-19 08:14:14

No @Collaborate. There is no law to prevent her from doing so but in doing so she would significantly impair the case for the prosecution. There is a system at work here and a set of expectations and it's definitely not just about the notes.

Collaborate Fri 22-Mar-19 08:16:19

It’s also about OP having a voice, and getting to control what happens to her. IMO she needs to put her mental health first.

Legal123 Fri 22-Mar-19 10:37:40

Thank you for everyone's advice.

I am not seeking counselling specifically for that case, I've had a long term problem with depression and anxiety which has resurfaced and grown. I have a baby now, and feel it's important that I get it under control for my baby. BUT I can't say that the incident will not come up.

If the case does ever actually go to court, I do not want to jeopardise chance of prosecution. Especially since it's 100% not a one time offence, since someone else has come forward. I certainly believe whoever that person may be.

It's a really difficult one, I believe my mental health and baby are far more important. I want the case to just be over either way, but I want the person prosecuted. Especially since the identity of this person is unknown, I'm not sure why that makes me want to see him prosecuted more but it does.

kbPOW Fri 22-Mar-19 11:10:38

I have specific experience of this situation - it's definitely a conversation your ISVA could have with CPS. It might, for example, be more suitable to have CBT, to agree not to talk about the event and to focus only on symptom management and for this to be clearly documented in the therapy notes.

Tomtontom Fri 22-Mar-19 11:34:30

There is guidance on therapy in the course of a prosecution, and the potential implications on the case. It's a complex read but it is worthwhile to take some time to read it.

www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/therapy-provision-therapy-vulnerable-or-intimidated-adult-witnesses

My personal view is that you need to do what is right for you. I don't know what that is, but I wish you well in moving forward after this terrible experience.

Legal123 Sat 23-Mar-19 18:12:36

Thank you for the link and for everyone's advice. I guess I have to think really hard about all of this and try to somehow get in contact with the relevant people which seems almost impossible.

I've been suffering since the birth of my baby (9 months!) and I finally decided that I need to get help, but then I just think about the (possibly - not even 100% sure!) open case that's been going on for almost 2 years now.

It's one thing for the whole incident to have even happened, but I seem to have pulled the short straw in my life since it too. Phone removed for evidence for half a year (didn't even have it with me at the time), preventative jabs and medication, just in case I caught something because he can't possible be made to get an std test, not allowed counselling unless I want to reduce risk of prosecution even more, FEMALE officers taking me to one side, away from cameras from the video interview, to ask me if the reason I'm so upset is because I'm lying, passed around to different officers 3 times, serious lack of communication - not telling me my case was closed and when I finally found out told it was too late to appeal the decision now, passed on a fourth time but good start - phone call directly from officer... Then never hear from him again.

Sorry for all of the rambling, I'm seriously tired of the whole thing and slightly angry. I just want to be OK for my baby.

kbPOW Sat 23-Mar-19 20:16:02

You have been through so much. It's really poor what you have gone through and the standards you're being held to.

Legal123 Sat 23-Mar-19 20:46:36

It's just how it goes though, isn't it? If I hadn't been dropped at a hospital I probably wouldn't have reported for reasons such as this plus how unlikely prosecution is.

RedHelenB Sat 23-Mar-19 21:59:35

That must have been so scary. You sound really together, As others have said, your mental health and ability to parent your baby are the most important things.

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