Whether you have chosen to contact a SARC or not, everyone is able to access support from an ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advocate). The role of the ISVA is to provide ongoing support for a client up to, and including, any pending or potential court cases. This support includes liaising with others on your behalf and keeping you regularly updated of any developments. This can include speaking to the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, health professionals, housing associations, employees etc. The aim of doing this is to take as much pressure as possible off a client’s shoulders and enable them to concentrate on feeling better.
ISVAs are able to accompany you to appointments, if you require, and will offer support to you during a court case. They will also arrange a pre-court visit so that you are able to have a look at the court room before the case and get an understanding of what will happen and where you will have to sit to give evidence etc. Clients find that this helps them to reduce their anxiety prior to the court hearing.
Our ISVAs are not counsellors. However, they are highly competent and skilled support workers. As such they are able to talk to you about your emotional wellbeing, provide you with positive coping strategies and allow you a safe and confidential space where you can talk about how you are feeling. Support is provided either face to face or by telephone (or usually both) and it will be at a level and frequency that is appropriate for your needs.
What happens after the court case or if it does not go to court?
Once the court case has ended, regardless of the outcome, or if the Crown Prosecution Service decides that there is insufficient evidence to proceed to court, you will be offered the opportunity to speak to one of our counsellors. Quite often clients find that the support they have received from the ISVA is sufficient and they decline this offer. However we know that some clients suffer high levels of trauma as a result of their experiences and require ongoing specialist counselling. If you are interested in finding out more about our counselling please click here.