Welfare support: More sources

Welfare support beyond St Catharine's

In addition to what is offered within St Catharine's there's a wealth of support, help and advice available in the University and beyond. This page summarises some of the most useful organisations that you can access without needing to contact your tutor or the Catz Welfare Team.

The University Counselling Service

The University Counselling Service offers telephone or video welfare appointments in place of individual counselling to all students who are currently on the waiting list.  If you are not already on the waiting list but would like to arrange an appointment, you can complete a new pre-counselling form (click this link) and your name will be added to the list.  The UCS is regularly updating its website with information on waiting times, so please do check back regularly. Their self help page will also be kept up to date. 

The UCS is located at the Student Services Centre, Bene't Street, Cambridge CB2 3PT (tel 01223 332865) though please note that at the moment all appointments are conducted by telephone or video call, and the referral form is the best way to join the waiting list for support. In case of technical difficulties with the online form you can email

The Cambridge University Disability Resource Centre

The DRC continues to offer support and resources to students, and has moved to an online system for managing new enquiries as well as for its ongoing work with individuals.   Their email is

Student-led support

Online Support- Qwell

Adults who live in Cambridge are eligible to sign up for a free account with Qwell, an online counselling and wellbeing platform. Qwell provides:

  • Chat-based counselling
  • Peer support
  • Self-help resources
  • Articles and posts from experts and users

The Qwell service is requires no referral, and is free and available all day, everyday. Counsellors are online and available between 12pm and 10pm on weekdays and between 6pm and 10pm on weekends.

If you or someone you are supporting is in a mental health crisis

  • The Samaritans (call 116123) is a 24/7 listening service especially for those in distress.
  • Papyrus (call 0800 068 41 41 or text 07786 209697) is a national charity for the prevention of young suicide. Their HOPELineUK telephone service (numbers above) is staffed by trained professionals who give non-judgemental support, practical advice and information (Mon-Fri: 10am–10pm, weekends: 2pm–10pm & bank holidays: 2pm–5pm)
  • Shout ( text 85258)is a text based crisis line for those struggling to cope and who need immediate help. It is a free service for all of the UK major mobile phone networks, available 24/7. 
  • CALM (call 0808 585858) or the Campaign Against Living Miserably offers a confidential, anonymous and free helpline and webchat for anyone who is feeling down or who has hit a wall. The trained staff can listen, support, inform and signpost via the helpline and webchat (between 5pm and midnight daily).
  • Sane (call 0300 304 7000) provides emotional support, guidance and information to anyone affected by mental illness, including family, friends and carers. The services are confidential and offer non-judgemental and compassionate support. Their out of hours mental health helpline is open every day from 4.30pm–10.30pm.
  • Lifeline (call 0808 808 2121) is a free, confidential and anonymous telephone helpline service that is available from 7.00–11.00pm to people in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area. The line provides listening support and information to someone experiencing mental distress or if you are supporting someone in distress.

Help for specific issues

  • Domestic Violence UK provide information, support, and three helplines (including one especially for men and one dedicated to LGBT+).
    (Most countries will have a national organisation that provides a helpline such as this one in the USA)
  • Women's Aid offers information and support to women in the UK who are experiencing domestic abuse, including through a new webchat service. 
  • BEAT is a UK eating disorders support organisation providing coronavirus-specific information and support.
  • OCDAction is the UK national OCD charity offering advice and support
  • Cruse Bereavement Care offers support in bereavement, including grieving in isolation. Additional sources of support are signposted here

Sexual Assault and Harassment

St Catharine’s College takes our commitment to keeping students safe extremely seriously. If you would like to talk to someone about an experience of sexual harassment or assault, you can access support within the College via your tutor or  the welfare team. The welfare team can be a listening ear to provide a non-judgemental space for you to talk about your experience , outline what your options are for further support and help you access specialist support within the University and in Cambridge. All conversations are confidential unless a member of staff is concerned about your safety or someone else’s safety.

If it is out of hours and you would like to speak to someone in College, as you are feeling unsafe or distressed, please contact the Porter’s Lodge who can contact the Duty Tutor or Senior Tutor.

The Senior Tutor and Welfare Officer are the St Catharine’s Discrimination and Harassment Contact. This role provides confidential support to students who may be experiencing any form of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct.  

The University has a full time Sexual Assault and Harassment Advisor (SAHA) who you can self-refer to here: or get in touch via email The SAHA can provide you with emotional support to help manage the impact of sexual violence as well as practical support and information regarding your options if you wish to report the assault or assessment. It will be your choice to do so and any member of staff you speak to concerning this will support you to make a decision you are comfortable with. Regardless of whether you decide to report the assault or not, you will still be able to access support from the SAHA.  For more information, visit

Tips for speaking to someone about Sexual Assault or Harassment

  • You don’t need to be 100% sure it was assault or harassment; speaking to the SAHA can help explore this
  • There is no time frame for the event(s). Whether it happened years ago or hours ago, you can still seek support and advice.
  • People are encouraged to seek support regarding harassment and sexual assault regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.

What is sexual assault?

Below is a non-exhaustive list of types of behaviour that would constitute rape, sexual assault and harassment.

  • making offensive comments about someone’s personal traits or assumed personal traits  
  • controlling or coercive behaviour  
  • physical misconduct (hitting, pushing, spitting, pulling hair etc)  
  • repeatedly following another person  
  • inappropriately showing sexual organs to someone  
  • inappropriate touching through clothes without consent  
  • kissing without consent  
  • sharing private sexual materials of another person without consent  
  • attempting to engage in sexual intercourse or a sexual act without consent  
  • engaging in sexual intercourse or a sexual act without consent 

The following resources open to people living in Cambridge who have experienced sexual violence.

Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre
Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre is open to support women who have experienced rape, childhood sexual assault or any other form of sexual violence.

The Elms Sexual Assault Referral Centre
The Elms, Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) offers a range of support services to anyone aged 13 or over, living within the Cambridgeshire area who has experienced sexual abuse or sexual violence, either recently or in the past. Anyone can refer themselves without having to involve the Police, it is not necessary for a report to have been made in order to get support from The Elms. 
Tel: 0800 193 5434 (9am-5pm)
Out of Hours Help Line: 0800 193 5434
Email Address:
Physical address:  ​The Elms SARC, Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Hinchingbrooke Park, Huntingdon Cambridgeshire, PE29 6NT
Information leaflet (download)

The offer the following services:

  • Talk to someone about your experience and get emotional support
  • Get advice about what services are available to you
  • Be referred to sexual health services including emergency contraception
  • Report someone anonymously to the police
  • If something has happened in the last 7 days you can have the option of having an examination which can help to preserve any evidence.
  • This service is completely confidential and you do not have to give any personal information in order to get help.
  • ​If you would like to speak to someone we are available 24/7 on 0800 193 5434 


Cambridge Women’s Aid
Cambridge Women’s Aid offers free and confidential advice to women who want to regain control of their lives. In the first instance, to speak to a worker or to make an appointment to meet in Cambridge you can call their Community Support team on ) 01223 361214.

ManKind Initiative
ManKind Initiative is a charity who supports men experiencing domestic abuse. They have a helpline which is open weekdays 10am-4pm  (01823 334244) and their website has lots of information for men who may be experiencing domestic abuse.

Men’s Advice Line
Men’s Advice Line is a confidential helpline for male victims of domestic abuse and those supporting them. They offer advice and emotional support to men who experiences abuse and signpost to other vital services that help keep them and their children safe.

Tel. 0800 999 5428 (Mon - Weds: 10am - 5pm; Thurs: 10am - 10pm; Fri: 1pm - 10pm; Sun: 12pm - 4pm (Tues 1pm - 5pm is trans specific service)) / Email
The leading LGBT anti-violence and abuse charity. Galop provide’s advice, support and advocacy to people who have experienced a hate crime, domestic abuse and sexual violence. All of its services are confidential and free.


Please note that while we have checked all links at the time of posting, the College is not responsible for the content of external websites.