Pre-Trial Therapy

Over the years, I have worked with many victims of rape and abuse, both as a mental health nurse and as a massage therapist and aromatherapist. Some of this has been done when a trial is expected to take place, some when it was not known (to me as a therapist or the rest of the team) that the abuse had taken place so instructions or suggestions from the Crown Prosecution Service that therapy should not happen were not relevant.

I was horrified this morning listening to the Today Programme on BBC Radio4 that currently rape victims in the UK are being advised not to seek therapy or counselling until after any trial has taken place.

In 2000 or 2001, I can’t be entirely sure which now, I visited Barnado’s in Middlesbrough where I was given a pre-release copy of the guidelines for pre-trial therapy for child victims of sexual abuse. At that time I learned that despite prosecution inevitably requesting access to therapy notes, pre-trial therapy actually resulted in an increased success rate for the prosecuting team.

I hope that this will be taken into account and that prosecution services along with therapy for this group can have funding restored to the point where this advice can be changed and therapists all given access to guidance on how to work best with these clients and to write their notes in a way that does not prejudice successful prosecution.

Remember that if you fall into this group or for any other reason you want to bring a friend when you book an aromatherapy massage, that is absolutely fine with me.