Can I bring someone?
Yes, of course. You’re very welcome to bring anyone who you feel supports you. It doesn’t matter what gender they are.
If I book an appointment with you, do I have to tell the police what happened to me?
Absolutely not – that’s completely unrelated from your health needs and none of our business. We’ll never push you to do anything you’re not ready to do. Many women who have experienced sexual violence choose not to go through the legal process, for a host of understandable reasons. We’re there to discuss what you need, definitely not to tell you what to do.
If you choose to discuss this with us, we’re happy to listen and we can refer you to specialist agencies who’ll be able to advise on the legalities. Otherwise, legal issues won’t even be brought up during your time with us.
My experience of sexual violence happened within the last year. Can I attend?
We’re really pleased you found us and are looking for help and support. We know this is difficult to do, so huge love and well done. Within the first year following assault, we recommend you speak with Rape Crisis to find out about counselling options. we also have a list of other useful resources.
If you’re looking for STI testing and it’s been less than a year since the assault, you can go to The Havens. We work with them and they offer STI testing to anyone who has been assaulted within the last year.
My family/friends/community say I have lost honour because I have experienced sexual violence, and that I should be ashamed of myself. How will I ever come through this?
Our organisation is run and founded by women from Black and Minority Ethnic communities, so we have first-hand experience of how ‘honour’ issues can utterly destroy you mentally and physically. Some of us have personally been there. We really do get how utterly soul destroying this is. We promise you that, even if you don’t feel like it, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
If having experienced sexual violence is putting you under huge pressure or threats due to honour issues or violence, you can speak to Karma Nirvana, The Sharan Project, IKWRO or Southall Black Sisters.
We are sending you much love and support. We know this this can drive you to the absolute edge of sanity, but there are ways out, with the right support – even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. If you’re feeling suicidal at any point, please do get help right away from the above agencies, and know we are with you. Many people out there are with you, even if they’re not physically in front of you to tell you.
It’s been more than a year since I experienced sexual violence. Can I attend?
Definitely – our service is designed to offer more long-term support following sexual violence. If it’s been more than a year, you’re probably in the right place to get the best of our services, so please get in touch.
What if I’m on my period?
That’s totally fine. For us, it makes no difference at all, and lots of the women who come in are on a period, so we’re used to it. Of course, if it makes you uncomfortable in any way, you’re very welcome to just come in for a cup of tea and a chat during your appointment. Then we can book you a follow-up appointment for the actual smear/STI test/contraceptive procedure. Whatever makes you most comfortable.
I’m worried I’ll become emotional when I attend.
That’s fine – we’re all very used to that. You can get as emotional as you like and it won’t be unusual to any of us! Many people become emotional when they see us and we’re there to support you. So, don’t worry about how you react, it’s all okay.
Some people get upset, some people switch off, some are sick from nerves and emotion or worry they’ll be sick, some feel angry, some have no reaction and become frustrated because of that…and everything in between! However you feel, it’s very likely we’ve seen it before and, even if you think you’re the only one who feels that way, there’ll probably be at least a dozen women who’ll have had that reaction before. Whatever happens and however you feel, it’s fine.
Is there a room I can be alone in afterwards if I need it?
Absolutely. Just let us know beforehand and we’ll arrange a quiet room for you.
I don’t live in London or Glasgow. Can I still use your services?
Absolutely. You can use our London or Glasgow clinics as long as you’re resident in the UK.
We completely understand that travel costs can mean that attending a clinic is difficult or not possible for some. That’s why we’re doing everything we can to expand our services across the UK in the coming years.
As for Café V, you don’t have to reside in the UK to attend, as it’s not an NHS service. We have people travel from Spain, France and Ireland to attend our sessions. If you’re able to do this, we welcome you, and often take extra care of our international guests who have come so far to visit us! If you can’t travel that far, we know that’s frustrating and hopefully we will be able to offer you more choice of location one day.
I am a trans man, a trans woman or non-binary. Can I use your services?
Yes, definitely. Due to the nature of our clinical services (cervical screening, contraceptive care and maternity), they’re applicable for people with a cervix. We don’t mind how you identify – if you have a cervix and have experienced sexual violence at some point in your life, you are welcome to book an appointment.
If you’re a trans woman without a cervix and have experienced sexual violence at some point in your life, you’re welcome to come along to Cafe V.
I have a disability – can I attend?
Yes, definitely. Just let us know the context of the disability and we can arrange any support you may need.
I have gynaecological/obstetric/metal health issues. Can I still come?
Yes, no problem. Just let us know the specifics when you book and we can arrange any extra support you may need.
I have experienced FGM – can I still attend?
Yes, definitely. We work in conjunction with clinicians who are FGM specialists, and with anti-FGM campaigners and organisations. Let us know this when you book an appointment and we will have extra support ready for you. It’s also worth mentioning that everything is confidential, so there is no chance that anyone within your community will find out you’ve been to see us.
I’ve self-harmed in the past and I’m embarrassed about this.
Please don’t worry, we see this quite a lot. It’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. All we care about is that you’re as healthy as possible now, and that you feel comfortable with us. We know, however, that showing us your scars may be very difficult for you. You can let us know about your scars beforehand if this helps you, but you absolutely don’t have to unless you want to.
For us, this really isn’t uncommon to see, and we usually don’t mention it unless you do first. We won’t be shocked or surprised and there’s no judgement. In reality, we’ll all be too busy trying to make you comfortable and meeting your needs. We won’t be thinking about what you look like in any way, which includes your scars.
If you are still self-harming or the cuts look fresh, we may chat with you about this and ask if you want to be referred for more support with it.
I’m a sex worker. Can I come?
Yes, of course, you’re very welcome. If you don’t want to tell us what you do for a living, that’s fine, it’s completely your choice. If you do want to tell us, that’s fine too. It’s all confidential.
Please don’t worry about any judgements anyone may make: our opinion is that there is no judgement anyone can make of you, because there’s nothing to judge. We really don’t care what your job is, as long as you’re taking steps for your physical and mental health.
The only thing we would worry about is if you’re in danger – we’d take steps to help you with that immediately.
I have a drug/alcohol problem – can I attend?
Yes, of course – a lot of people have problems with this for various reasons. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about and we’re pleased that you’re looking into ways to care for yourself! It’s up to you whether you want to disclose this. It’s always good to let us know though, so we can support you better.
We ask that you are drug and alcohol free when you use any of our services, for many reasons. But, if you’re worried that this is going to be a problem, let us know and we’ll work together to find a way forward with you.
I’m a social worker/key worker/health professional and want to refer a client. Can I do that on their behalf?
Yes, of course. Just send email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll start from there.
I’m living in a refuge – will it be safe for me to attend?
Yes, we see many people currently living in refuges. As with all NHS services, we are under a legal obligation to keep your information completely confidential.
We deliberately provide no specific address or contact information to the general public, to keep all women safe. The only people who will have knowledge of your full name will be the staff seeing you. Volunteers may know your first name, but if you’d rather they didn’t, that’s fine – just let us know. Other women using our service may see you in the clinic, but will not know your name or any other information.
If it helps you to feel safer, you’re very welcome to bring any key workers from your refuge along, or friends or family that you trust.
I am a refugee/asylum seeker/have no legal status, and have no recourse to NHS care. Can I get help?
Please send us an email or ask your key worker to do this for you. We will do everything we can for you. Our charity’s ethos is that healthcare is a basic human right and all people should have access to it, regardless of their situation, so please get in touch.
I don’t speak English very well – can I come?
We find that many people who worry about this actually do speak English just fine, it’s just not perfect. As long as we can understand you, there’s nothing to worry about.
If you’re reading this on behalf of someone non-English speaking who’d like to attend, you can either join them and translate with their consent or get in touch and we can find ways to accommodate them.
I am in the public eye and I’m worried the media will find out I am attending or that other service users will disclose this to the press. What can I do?
Please don’t worry – we’re here to look after you and keep you safe. Let us know if this is a problem for you. You don’t have to tell us who you are, just that this may be a problem for you, and we’ll discuss ways to keep you safe. There are many ways in which we can protect your identity, and all NHS staff are legally bound to be 100% confidential. It simply shouldn’t be a problem.
Can I do my elective placement with MBB?
We’re sorry, but we’re not able to accommodate healthcare students’ placements. However, there are lots of ways you can help if you’re interested in volunteering in a non-clinical capacity at our clinics.
I’m a healthcare professional. Can I apply for a job with you?
We work with NHS Trusts to recruit staff for MBB Clinics. This often involves our senior clinicians choosing staff they have worked with previously, who they know have the right skills, right values and would be a good fit for us.
However, if you’re already working in a clinical capacity with an NHS Trust that we’re partnered with, please do get in touch. If you’re already aware who the lead MBB doctor, nurse or midwife is within your NHS Trust, please talk to them directly.
I’m a senior clinician working within an NHS Trust you are not partnered with. Can we work with you?
If you’re a senior doctor, nurse, midwife or psychologist working within your NHS Trust, please do get in contact. We would welcome an initial chat with you.
If you’re a junior clinician and passionate about the work we do, we’d still love to hear from you. However, it may be best to have a more senior colleague involved too. They’ll be able to offer you valuable support and knowledge.
Are you able to come and do a talk at our university?
We’d be delighted to come and talk to your students. However, we’re unable to speak at events without remuneration for our time and travel expenses, so we won’t be able to speak for free.
Can I fundraise for you?
Yes! Please do! We will love you for it! Just email us and we’ll be incredibly grateful and very happy to support you with this.