Independent Sexual Violence Advisors - ISVA
Practical advice on HIV, contraception, STIs, Police procedures, reporting, court, counselling, medical signposting, accompanying to appointments, the SARC or court. Anything relating to your rape or sexual abuse.
We have seven ISVAs, Susan, Sally, Roxy, Bea, Jo and Tia (and currently recruiting to one vacancy), who have specialist skills and knowledge, with backgrounds in victim support, the Police and counselling. Their purpose is to help you cope, recover and to return to your previous well-being, it is not a counselling service, but a supportive practical service.
Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) are specially trained and can support and advise female and male survivors of rape and sexual abuse, regardless of when it happened. They have knowledge of the choices you can make and can help you understand what you might want or need. They will look after your wellbeing and ensure you receive the best help available.
They will support you with whatever decision you make. Whether to report to the police or not. They can explain prosecution, the court system, arrange private visits to the courts in conjunction with the Witness Service, arrange screens and video links within the court. They can help you access the Police to report the offence.
They will support you to access the SARC, Sexual Assault Referral Centre (in Cobham). Which offers crisis support, forensic medical examinations, and police reporting rooms. Please note that you have the choice to see or to not see the police at the SARC.
Forensic medical evidence can be collected and stored for later use. Evidence can still be collected in some cases up to 72 hours afterwards. Obviously the sooner the better. The evidence can be stored anonymously and confidentially at the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in Cobham. It could be that you don't know whether you want to report to the Police, if the evidence is stored, you have proof, and it is there if in the future you wish to prosecute. Keep your options open.
If during a medical examination you wish to stop, the Examiner and Crisis Support Worker will accept your decision, without question and understand.
If you need to have tests for sexual infections, HIV, emergency contraception, abortion or pregnancy, the ISVAs can help you make appointments and even accompany you, if you need this extra support.
Rape and sexual abuse may result in other issues and the ISVAs may be able to help with :
Relocating away from your attacker
Talking to your employer
Talking to your teacher
Arranging appointments, finding the right service (medical, mental health, counselling etc)
Recovery groups, eg. self-esteem, confidence
You can contact our ISVA team directly - the service is available by self referral. Please cpmplete the referral form below.
Click here to download a leaflet.
Adobe Acrobat document [2.3 MB]
ISVA Self-referral form Nov 2017.docx
Microsoft Word document [25.9 KB]
To refer a client to the RASASC ISVA service, please see our Agency Referrals page.