There are many kinds of care professionals survivors may come into contact with. We've collated a list of the most common examples for your reference although this list is not exhaustive.


Your GP is usually your first port of call if you have any health worries. They look at your overall health to see if there might be physical causes behind any emotional difficulties you're experiencing. If GPs are aware of Childhood Sexual Abuse issues, they can be particularly helpful in helping you access a wide range of services and other specialists.

Community Mental Health Teams

Community Mental Health Teams look after the welfare of people who need more attention for their mental health issues than a GP can provide. The make-up of care teams varies from area to area and according to the needs of the individual. Teams can include psychiatrists, psychologists, community psychiatric nurses, health visitors and housing and welfare officers. Some survivors of childhood sexual abuse are referred to Community Mental Health Teams for help.

Community Psychiatric Nurses (CPN)

CPNs are registered psychiatric nurses who work in the community to provide care for people with mental health issues, including survivors. Referrals generally come via your GP. CPNs can provide support, advice, and help with administering medication.

Counsellors and Psychotherapists

Counselling broadly involves talking to an experienced and trained listener about feelings that exist around areas of difficulty. Counselling does not direct you in what to think or do but can enable you to take decisions about your life and wellbeing. Many survivor agencies provide counselling, as do some GP practices. Reputable counsellors and psychotherapists are registered with the professional body for counselling and psychotherapy in Scotland (COSCA) or The British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP). Contact COSCA or the BACP to find a therapist near you, or see our list of survivor agencies in the Directory.


Psychotherapy is a set of techniques used to treat mental health and emotional problems and some psychiatric disorders. Psychotherapy is often used to deal with psychological problems that have built up over a number of years. Psychotherapy may be carried out on an individual basis, as part of a group or with your spouse or partner. Treatment can be short or long term. You usually need to be referred by your GP. There are many different techniques, disciplines and approaches available, including person-centred, psychoanalytic, psychodynamic and Gestalt. As with other kinds of treatment, it can take time to find which approach or practitioner is best for each individual. Different practitioners have different areas of speciality and levels of expertise.


This stands for Sexual Abuse Service Development Fund and was the name of the finding awarded to survivor agencies for 2008/2009. This is now known as the SurvivorScotland National Strategy Funding.

Survivor agencies

There are many voluntary organisations who provide highly skilled and trained counselling and support services to survivors. These services may include counselling, advocacy, group work, drop-in facilities, relaxion, self esteem, art therapy, creative writing, crisis support, libraries telephone helplines and support to families and partners. Many survivors find these agencies of particular help as they work specifically on abuse issues.