Specialist Support Work

Our Specialist Support Work Service is here for women in Cornwall living with the impact of any form of domestic abuse, child sexual abuse, rape or sexual violence at any time in their lives.

At the heart of The Women’s Centre Cornwall is our ‘women supporting women’ approach.

We believe that you are the expert in your own life and we will stand alongside you as you recognise your power.  

We will hear you, believe you, treat you with respect and support you on your journey.

Our support has been developed over almost 27 years of listening to women and responding to what they tell us they need.

What kind of support can I expect?

The support we offer lasts for up to 20 sessions, for one hour at the same day and time each week. You can choose whether to access support online, over the phone or in person.

We believe that knowledge is power and we offer women a wide range of resources alongside support.


Any form of rape, child sexual abuse, domestic abuse or sexual assault is an abuse of power and control.

Our empowerment model of support is based on offering you the time and space to take back your power.

We do this by not taking any more power from you. We want you to feel in control of the support you need and to have space to make your own choices. We believe in the vision you have for your future and we hold on to hope that you can heal from what has happened to you.

Led by you

We have developed a unique healing journey model of support over almost 30 years of supporting women and we have seen how it has changed many women’s lives for the better.  

We know that no two women respond to trauma in the same way. We will listen to what you tell us you need from support depending on where you feel you are in your journey.


Women are at the heart of our organisation and our support is focused on the ways in which women and girls experience the world.

Specialist and Trauma-Informed

We believe that the way women and girls respond to violence and abuse is completely natural. As a trauma-informed organisation, we do not believe that women are broken and disordered because of the way they have coped with their experiences. We honour what women have done to survive.  

In 2021 we were awarded the One Small Thing Trauma Informed Silver Quality Mark which recognises services who have a high standard of knowledge and practices when working with trauma.

We ask women ‘what has happened to you’ rather than ‘what is wrong with you’?

Safe, women-only spaces

We offer safe, women-only spaces for you to express your natural feelings such as anger, shame, sadness and grief and any other ways in which your experiences have impacted you and your life.


Sexual abuse, rape, sexual assault and domestic abuse are all significant traumas which can impact heavily on the body as well as the mind and emotions.

Often "the body remembers what that mind cannot". Where possible, we offer women the opportunity to receive body work, group work and other nature-based therapies.

Who can access support?

We support women aged 18+ living in Cornwall who have been impact by any form of domestic abuse, child sexual abuse, rape or sexual violence at any time in their lives.

We recognise that women affected by any form of sexual and domestic abuse naturally put in place different ways of coping. Therefore we support women who may be currently using drugs and alcohol, as well as women who have been given a mental health diagnosis.

A wide range of women access our Specialist Support Service and we welcome you to contact us to see if we are the right service for you. We would love to hear from you.

We also support young women aged 11-18 through our Young Empowered Women’s Project.

Who will my support worker be?

You will be supported by a woman who has been trained to understand the nature of sexual and domestic abuse. Our Specialist Support Workers are unique and wonderful women from a wide range of backgrounds. Your support worker will accept you just as you are and celebrate you throughout your time together.

We are always working to make sure our support can be easily accessed by women who have experienced discrimination due to race and other identities, women with learning disabilities, autism and neurodivergence and women whose first language is not English.

Find out more about our approach to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging.

How do you take referrals?

We encourage women to refer themselves as this can be an empowering start to their healing journey, however we understand that some women may naturally find this difficult and want support.

If a professional or organisation is making a referral for a woman, please make sure that this is done only with the permission of the woman. We recognise that women are unique and have individual journeys so if you are unsure about support, please just reach out to us and we can have a chat!

See our Support for me page for more information on how to contact us or refer yourself.

What to expect when referring yourself for support

We have a wide range of projects and services, including support for women in the criminal justice system, women with learning disabilities, neurodiversity and autism and women facing multiple disadvantages such as homelessness and discrimination.

Read more about the different types of support we offer.

Sexual Violence Pathfinder Project

The Sexual Violence and Trauma Pathfinder Programme for Devon and Cornwall is funded by NHS England to improve care for  victims and survivors of sexual assault and abuse (that occurred in child or adulthood) with complex trauma related mental health needs so that they can recover, heal and rebuild their lives.

A key target group within the Sexual Violence and Trauma Pathfinder is working with women living with the impact of things such substance misuse, homelessness and domestic abuse who often do not engage with services and where childhood sexual abuse is often the undisclosed original trauma. As a result, these women are more at risk of sexual exploitation / abusive relationships. They may be women who frequently attend crisis services or present at different services multiple times throughout the system.

The Sexual Violence Pathfinder project will be working alongside the Women’s Outreach Assertiveness Team and Krefta in supporting women with complex trauma related health needs to be ready to access more specialist sexual violence and/or trauma processing support.  Alongside this, the SVP project will develop and deliver a trauma stabilisation model of working which includes the following aspects of a trusted relationship:

  • Holistic personalised support
  • Physical, emotional and therapeutic safety
  • Support meeting basic needs
  • Emotional and practical support
  • Support with emotional regulation, understand the impact of trauma and manging trauma symptoms
  • Support to put in place new ways of coping
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