Independent support for survivors
Staying Put’s IDVA service support survivors of all forms of gender-based violence, including those at highest risk of serious harm or homicide. Independent advocates give a voice to those who feel voiceless, enabling victims of violence to pursue justice and put the building blocks in place to begin a new life, free from fear.
We provide independent domestic, sexual and gender-based violence advocates for women, men and young people – these are known as IDVAs, ISVAs and IGVAs.
Independent advocates also play a crucial role in the community. They provide essential training to key agencies such as the police and the Crown Prosecution Service, which greatly improves the way they respond to cases of domestic violence.
What can an independent advocate help with?
An IDVA’s role often begins at the point of crisis for a victim – for example, just after a police call-out, or when a woman goes to hospital for medical help after a violent attack.
- Creating safety plans and undertaking risk assessments
- Accompanying clients to court or arranging pre-trial visits
- Supporting clients to give evidence and write victim impact statements
- Requesting special measures in court including, for example, screens in court to conceal survivors so they don’t have to face their abuser
- Access to refuge accommodation
- Improving security in their property so that they can continue to live safely at home
- Providing emotional support and referring victims to counselling or mental health services
- Liaising with social workers on child protection issues
Since 2019 we have been able to offer victims of sexual violence support and advice. We provide the Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) service.
The ISVAs provide support to anyone whose case is going through the criminal justice system. They can help victims through the court process and explain what is likely to happen when a report is made to the police. The ISVA can also provide support to victims who do not wish to make a report. In these circumstances she can advise on sexual health concerns, provide emotional support and refer on to other services such as counsellors.
The ISVA can support anyone who has been the victim of sexual violence – whether this happened 2 days ago or 30 years ago. She also has excellent links with the SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) and can explain their role in helping victims.
South Yorkshire IDVA service
In partnership with IDAS, Remedi and BSARCS, we provide an IDVA service in Barnsley and Sheffield. Our skilled and diverse small staff team work closely with these partners to establish links with vulnerable, hard to reach communities, including BAME, LGBT, Travelling Communities, etc. Raising awareness of domestic abuse within these communities and creating pathways for referral, they carry a caseload, providing short to medium term support to those families most in need.