ISVA Service

ISVAs provide information and support through the criminal justice process for people who have experienced sexual violence or abuse.

Information about the ISVA Service

What is the ISVA Service?toggle accordion content

Our Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) provide information and support for people who have experienced sexual violence or abuse, no matter when it happened.

Our main focus is around the criminal justice process, including talking through reporting options, support with communication with the police, support in the lead up to a trial, or with concerns about a case that has previously been reported to the police.

We can also help you with Third Party Anonymous Reporting if you do not feel ready to complete a full police report at this time.

We may offer additional assistance on issues relating to the offence including housing, accessing follow up health support, liaising with work or an educational setting, or accessing therapeutic support.

Who can get help from the ISVA Service?toggle accordion content

Our ISVA Service is available to survivors of recent and non-recent sexual abuse. The service is open to people of any age and any gender.

We have a range of specialisms within the team, including:

  • ISVAs who support clients aged 16 or over, covering Brighton and Hove, and East Sussex.
  • A Young Person’s ISVA, supporting clients aged 14-18, covering Brighton and Hove, and East Sussex.
  • A Children’s ISVA supporting children aged 13 and under, and their families/carers. This role is pan-Sussex.
  • An ISVA supporting clients who have been abused in settings connected to the Diocese of Chichester.
  • An ISVA for people who experience racism (PWER ISVA), covering Brighton and Hove or East Sussex.
  • Multiple and Complex Needs ISVAs providing advocacy and other support to people who have experienced extra barriers to accessing the services they need (pan-Sussex). Some of your experiences may include, but are not limited to: homelessness, substance use, mental ill-health, history of offending, and sex working. People who experience two or more of these can have difficulty in engaging with mainstream services, so our aim is to tackle those barriers alongside you.

Is the service accessible?toggle accordion content

We welcome people with disabilities to use our service. Please get in touch with us if you have any access or communication needs and we will seek to accommodate these.

Although our building is an old one, and there is not a lift to the main counselling rooms, we can arrange for the use of a ground floor room in another building that is private and accessible if we need to meet. Our building does not currently have hearing loops fitted. If you have any concerns about being able to access our office, please do get in touch.

Is the service confidential?toggle accordion content

We aim to provide you with the opportunity to explore whatever issues you want to, in a space that is safe where you can feel accepted and supported. Part of creating this space relies on you being able to trust that whatever you talk about will be treated with sensitivity, respect and confidentiality. All ISVAs have regular supervision from an independent supervisor – this is also a confidential relationship.

If you have an open police case, or are considering reporting this to the police, we will follow a pre-trial protocol.  This means that there will be limitations to the confidentiality that we can offer in order to protect you in the event of any investigation or court case. If you would like further information about this, please contact the counselling team.

In certain circumstances an ISVA may feel a client is at risk of harming themselves or someone else, in which case they will discuss with you the best way to help you. This may in very rare cases mean contacting your GP or other medical advisor, and/or the ISVA Services Coordinator, but if possible, your ISVA will always discuss this with you first and would encourage you to participate in any further action taken.

Below is a list of concerns that we are legally bound to breach confidentiality on. If possible, we only do this with your knowledge. Only in an extreme emergency would any action be taken without your consent.

  • Where there are concerns about a child’s safety.
  • If your ISVA is concerned that you may endanger your own, or another person’s life.
  • If we are ordered by a court of Law to breach confidentiality.
  • If we gain knowledge of an act of terrorism.
  • If both parties are in agreement that confidentiality can be broken in a particular instance.

Need more information?

If you have any questions or would like to know more call 01273 203380 or email us via info@survivorsnetwork.org.uk

We have lots of resources designed to support you with a range of topics, including a comprehensive self-help guide.