Life after Adult Grooming: Sources of Mental Health Support (UK)

When you’ve been groomed, you’re in a very odd ‘no man’s land’ for support. You haven’t necessarily been raped in the old, brutal definition of rape (although in our view, manufacturing consent that wouldn’t otherwise have been given decidedly negates that consent).

You haven’t always experienced domestic violence. But if you have, you can report it and the police and authorities should act.

You have almost certainly experienced coercive control without even realising it. Coercive control is illegal.

So pick the support that’s right for you.

Don’t dismiss your doctor if you need any counselling or mental health support. Some are incredibly effective at accessing the mental health system.

And CAAGe has approved counsellors who can offer support. Sadly we are unable to fund this at present.

BACP – The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.  This will help you find a checked and qualified therapist. Choose your therapist carefully. If you are looking for help because you’ve been groomed, try and find one who has experience/is trained in sexual abuse. Whilst grooming doesn’t fit neatly into the sexual abuse box, they’re about as close as you’ll get at the moment.

Life Coaching – There is no link here to life coaching organisations because not all life coaches are born equal and there is no set standard.

I’ve found my own life coach, with a background in psychotherapy, incredibly useful and life affirming, but she came to me by way of a recommendation. My previous experience of life coaching was with someone who’d done a one week course in nutrition and fitness. Useful for diet tips, but I wouldn’t have recommended her for recovery from grooming (although diet and exercise obviously help!)

Nexus – Free counselling for anyone who has experienced sexual violence in Northern Ireland

PTSD UK – If you feel traumatised by what has happened, it’s worth considering that the symptoms you experience may be PTSD. It doesn’t just happen in war zones!

Respond: Respond exists in order to lessen the effect of trauma and abuse on people with learning disabilities their families and supporters.

Safeline –  Safeline is “a specialised charity working to prevent sexual abuse and to support those affected in their recovery.”

Samaratins – Samaratins “offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way – about whatever’s getting to you. You don’t have to be suicidal.” Open 24/7.

Survivors Trust – “Raising awareness about sexual abuse and/or rape and its effects on survivors, their supporters and society at large.” (Many  adult grooming victims will find it hard to go for support here as the boundary between consensual and non-consensual sex is blurred.)

Survivors UK – support for men who have been sexually abused

Victim Support – useful if a crime beyond simply grooming has been committed – adult grooming is not yet illegal in the UK.

Wellspring – physical and mental health support for people in the Bristol area of England.

This page is constantly being updated, and recommendations are welcome: contact us


Is adult grooming sexual abuse? Safeline offers an incredibly good definition :

Sexual abuse is defined as any behaviour (physical, psychological, verbal, virtual/online), perceived to be of a sexual nature, which is controlling, coercive, exploitative, harmful or unwanted. It can be inflicted on anyone irrespective of age, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or any form of disability.


Grooming is not illegal in the UK. 

You can sign the petition to try and change this in the case of ‘catfishing’ here:

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