In Care Survivors Service Scotland

The In Care Survivors Service Scotland, a partnership led by Open Secret, is a trauma informed counselling and advocacy support service for adults who suffered childhood abuse in care and their families.

Our remit has also been widened so that we can offer the same services to people who have experienced any form of abuse andbeen in the care system, but where the abuse did not necessarily take place in a formal care setting.

It is a team of specially trained counsellors offering help specifically for survivors of historic in-care abuse under the national framework of advocacy, and counselling services, and to survivors of abuse who have also been in care. Services include:

Providing locally based development workers across Scotland to offer survivors and their families support, advocacy and confidential counselling;

  • A national confidential telephone Helpline line – 0800 121 6027-currently available from 9am to 11am Monday to Friday, for those of you who have not yet been allocated a worker or to make a new referral.
  • A one stop service for help to access historical records from childhood care settings
  • An informative website highlighting the support available; and
  • Help for survivors to access the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme and support to pursue some legal issues (for example support to attend court).

Counselling and trauma work

If you are accessing the In Care Survivor Service it is likely that you will be experiencing problems related to the abuse you experienced in care.

Counselling is a way to help you find your own way to lead a more satisfying and fulfilling life. Within ICSSS we work at your pace. What you tell your counsellor will be confidential unless there is a risk of harm to yourself or others.

You will be offered a first appointment to see which service best meets your needs and then you will be offered as many sessions as you need. With your counsellor you will agree what you want to achieve from the sessions. It is often the case that counselling takes place over a long period of time and we will discuss this carefully with you at the first appointment.

It is your choice what you want to discuss and we will go at your pace.

Counselling usually takes place once a week for one hour in a suitable, safe and confidential setting. All counsellors are professionally trainied and adhere to the COSCA or BACP Ethical Framework. The counsellor’s role is to facilitate the work which respects the client’s values, personal resources and capacity for change. Through the therapeutic relationship it offers the safe space to explore issues, address and resolve conflict, cope with crisis and often will involve psycho-educational interventions such as coping with flashbacks, and understanding childhood trauma.

The counsellors have all been trained to work under different approaches to counselling such as integrative or person centred.

Art Therapy

Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media and the creative process as its primary mode of communication.

The relationship between the therapist and the client is of central importance, but art therapy is different from other psychotherapies in that it is a three way process between the client, the therapist and the image or object created in the art therapy session. This way art therapy offers an opportunity for expression and communication and can be particularly helpful to people who find it hard to express their thoughts and feelings verbally.

The In Care Survivors Service Scotland was established to ensure local services across Scotland. The service is delivered by Development Workers and trained volunteers. Development Workers are qualified counsellors with experience of providing advocacy support. To ensure that individuals can be seen in their own area we recruit volunteers in local communities. This is in line with the community development perspective that we operate from.

Development Workers have been recruited in different areas of Scotland. They will have local knowledge and will be able to use existing networks to publicise the service. Our workers are as follows:

Alison Grieve – Aberdeenshire
Peggy Taylor – Highlands and Islands
Lorna Patterson – Fife
Sandra Toyer – Lanarkshire and Glasgow
Cath Taylor – Forth Valley
Mandy Gaze – Borders, Edinburgh and Lothians
Sergio Bechelli – Ayrshire

Open Secret
98 Thornhill Road


Telephone: 01324 630100
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