Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA)

We hope to share more information on ANBU UK ISVA service in July 2021

Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) play an important role in providing specialist tailored support to victims and survivors of sexual violence. An ISVA is an adviser who works with people who have experienced rape and sexual assault, irrespective of whether they have reported to the police. The nature of the support that an ISVA provides will vary from case to case and will depend on the needs of the individual and their particular circumstances.

ISVAs are trained to look after the needs of their clients, and to ensure that they receive care and understanding. They help victim-survivors to understand how the criminal justice process works, and explain things such as what will happen if they report to the police, and the importance and process of forensic DNA retrieval. ISVAs are there to provide clients with the information they need to make the right decision for them. They do not pressure clients into reporting any offence to the police. They are a figure of trust, empathy and respect.

Green Leaf
Key ISVA responsibilities include:

providing practical and emotional support to the victim/survivor that has experienced sexual violence at any point in their lives;
 

helping the victim/survivor understand the potential impact of sexual violence and abuse on health and well being;

dispelling myths and stereotypes surrounding sexual violence to challenge feelings of shame and blame;

supporting family members where appropriate by helping them to understand the potential impact of sexual violence and signposting to available support services;

responding to any concerns that the victim/survivor may have regarding the investigation, specialist support services, impact on work, education and relationships.

 

Other responsibilities may include the following:

Making referrals or signpost to the other services;

Booking and/or accompanying the victim/survivor to medical or other appointments;

assisting the victim/survivor to communicate with employers for example in relation to time off to attend police meetings/court, negotiating a phased return to work or ongoing sick leave;

accompanying clients to meetings, such as CPS pre-trial interview, introduction to other services, tribunals, and additional support services such as those provided by Citizens Advice Bureau; The Role of the Independent Sexual Violence Adviser: Essential Elements 12

supporting the victims/survivors to engage with other statutory services such as, sexual health, education providers, housing services and benefits agencies;

facilitating access to therapeutic counselling and mental health services where appropriate;

supporting the victim/ survivor to engage with the criminal justice process including, supporting the victim to make a report to the police should they wish to, attending pre-trial court visits, requesting special measures, understanding the victim impact statement;

assisting the victim/survivor to access additional support services such as interpreters, intermediaries, drug and alcohol services, domestic abuse services;

facilitate support for family members where appropriate, such as significant others/parents/carers bearing in mind potential for multiple witnesses from the same family/peer group and explaining the criminal justice process and support services that may be available to them.