FAQs Answered

1. How can I access The Bridgeway services?

You can speak to a crisis worker any time of the day or night. The Bridgeway is not open as a drop-in service, to access services you will need to telephone first to make an appointment on 0808 118 6432. Staff at The Bridgeway are happy to take referrals directly from an individual, friend, family member, the police or an agency. For example, your GP could refer you to our services. The Bridgeway building on the Penrith Hospital site has wheelchair and pushchair access, including accessible toilet and shower facilities. The building also has an induction loop system to assist those with hearing aids.


2. Where would I need to go to access The Bridgeway services?

Our counselling service is available at several locations across the county so you can choose the one which is most convenient for you. Many of these are dedicated facilities which have areas for children, young people and adults. Our Independent Sexual Violence Advisors and Child and Young Person's Advocate can arrange to meet you at a location near to where you live. Once they have met you, they can then support by over the telephone, by text and by meeting you somewhere that suits you, depending on what you want and what suits your circumstances.

Forensic-medical examinations are carried out at our specialist centre on the Penrith Hospital site, which includes a shower room, refreshment facilities and a quiet room for you to rest in. The centre also has special areas for children with a range of toys and games.


3. Does it cost anything?

No. This is a free service for victims of rape and sexual assault. The service is funded by a number of organisations, including the NHS, Cumbria Police and local councils.


4. Do I have to make an appointment?

Yes. If you phone The Bridgeway an appointment can often be made for you at short notice. Our advice helpline is available 24/7 and we can carry out forensic-medical examinations at a time which suits you. Other services are available during the day. If you have reported the assault to the Police, they will make arrangements for you to attend or access services at The Bridgeway. 

Once you have been referred into our services, you will be given details of how to contact us for on-going support.


5. Will what I tell you be kept confidential?

We understand that confidentiality is important to you. Information may be shared with other agencies such as your GP, where you have given permission to do so. All other information will be held in confidence unless there are concerns regarding child protection or ongoing abuse of a vulnerable adult. In such cases, we have a responsibility to share some information with other agencies such as social care. If you have reported the assault to the Police and the investigation results in a prosecution, your medical notes may be requested by the court.


6. Can I attend The Bridgeway with a friend or family member?

Yes. If you would like someone that you know to come to The Bridgeway to support you, they can. If you are having an examination, they can either come into the room with you or wait outside. If you wish to have someone in the examination room with you, but don't want them to see the examination, a curtain can be put up for privacy.

If you are using our counselling or Independent Sexual Violence Advisor services it may be best to see them on your own as talking about rape or sexual assault is an individual experience and something which everyone reacts to differently.


7. Which organisations are involved in providing The Bridgeway’s services?

The Bridgeway has a number of services which are provided by a partnership of a number of organisations working together across Cumbria so that you experience as seamless a service as possible and that you don't have to repeat your story every time you work with a new person. Multiple agencies are involved to ensure that you can get the same level of service wherever you live in the county. These organisations are the Birchall Trust, G4S Forensic Medical Services, Safety Net and Victim Support. The Bridgeway also works with a range of other organisations across the county to make sure you can access the services you need.