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A new approach to domestic abuse counselling: Welcome to Dactari!

As we start 2023, we would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! With a new year comes a new start, and this is the first in what we anticipate will be a regular series of blog postings exploring counselling, domestic abuse and other, relevant topics as we go through the year. As a team of counsellors, supervisors, trainers and researchers, we have a wealth of previous experience in working with the mental health issues associated with experiencing domestic abuse. However, as we are a relatively new business, we thought it would be useful to introduce the business to you and answer the questions that we have been asked many times: why have you set up Dactari, what is it and what makes you different?

Why have we set up Dactari?

We know from research that seeing a counsellor who understands domestic abuse and the impact that can have on someone is highly beneficial to the client. We also know that specialist services are not always available locally in the UK and there is even more limited counselling provision for those experience domestic abuse and belong to a minority groups. For this reason, we believe there is a need for professional, online specialist counselling for those who do not have access to a local service.

We also know that counsellor training courses tend not to cover working with domestic abuse in any detail and that there are a limited number of counsellors in private practice that can work with people who have experienced domestic abuse. Equally, there are a limited number of qualified counsellors who can supervise those working with domestic abuse experiences. Hence there is a need for more detailed training across the UK (and perhaps beyond) to prepare counsellors for working with this client group, both within education and clinical supervision.

Finally, research in this area has tended to be fragmented across several universities and, as a result, it has been difficult to gain momentum to deliver larger funded research projects and to pull together what has been done into a cohesive body of research. Creating a research centre for domestic abuse counselling provides the opportunity to begin that process.

We intend that Dactari will fill at least some of the gaps in service provision that we believe exist.

What is Dactari?

Dactari is a spin-out company from the research and clinical work completed at the University of Salford Domestic Abuse Counselling Centre. The business builds upon the existing experiences of running a specialist domestic abuse counselling service and brings together qualified counsellors, with many hours of domestic abuse counselling experience, who want to provide counselling for these clients as professional counsellors. Our counsellors have previously undertaken extensive specialist training and supervision based on client research; we now want to offer this more generally through online platforms across the UK. Many of our counsellors and trainers are also active in research and Dactari provides an opportunity to bring together researchers to develop ideas and improve both our knowledge and practice in the field.

Our vision is to provide a space for people across the UK to access specialist online counselling, whilst also training mental health professionals to facilitate more local private practices able to see clients face to face.

What makes us different to other online domestic abuse counselling services?

Although the general view of domestic abuse in the UK is that of a male perpetrator abusing a female partner, recent data from the Office of National Statistics suggests that this accounts for just over half of the those reporting experiences of domestic abuse, with around 45% of the reported experiences coming from people who are male, or female and in same sex relationships, or being abused by a sibling, parent or child. We understand that domestic abuse can happen to anyone, and we wanted to provide a more accessible service for people across the UK.

Our approach is based on research which was trialled successfully at the University of Salford, where we worked with hundreds of clients. All our counsellors have undertaken significant domestic abuse counselling training (based on the model of practice), as well as specialist supervision, to ensure that they have the right skills to work with you.

Many other specialist services tend to be in the voluntary sector when funding is available. Whilst these are often free to access, we know that they are often over-subscribed with long waiting lists, relying on volunteer counsellors, and that they are not available in all parts of the UK.

We are different in that we charge for the counselling provided, we accept people who have experienced domestic abuse (with access to a telephone or waiting list) from across the UK, we provide extensive counsellor training from the latest research on domestic abuse counselling, and we do not currently have a waiting list.

What next?

We are now open for business and can take counselling clients Monday-Friday, 9am-8pm. Availability of counselling sessions can be seen on our booking calendar, together with the name of the therapist available at that time. Please see for more information.

In January, we will be putting together our new training programme so, if you are a counsellor, please do contact us and we will let you know when the training dates are decided, or call back to the site towards the end of January and have a look ( ).

We are involved in a number of research projects which are just starting up now ( see ). We hope to have news of our research exploits over the course of the year. If you are interested in collaborating, just contact us and we will be happy to explore this with you.

We hope that this answers at least some of your questions about Dactari. If you have any more, please do use our contact form and we will be happy to answer those as well!

We look forward to working with you in 2023!


CEO and Team Leader

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