Advocacy & ISVAs
Many Rape Crisis Centres provide specialist advocacy services. The specially trained workers who deliver these services are sometimes referred to as ISVAs, which stands for Independent Sexual Violence Advisors or Advocates.
A Rape Crisis advocacy worker's or ISVA's main role is to provide practical and emotional support and information to victims and survivors who have reported to the police, or are thinking about reporting.
If you choose to report, your Rape Crisis ISVA will work with other partners to try and keep you informed through the criminal justice process.
- support you to have your voice heard
- help you feel empowered to make choices that feel right for you
- accompany you to important appointments and court, if that's what you want
An ISVA can also support you with your next steps after the legal process is over, no matter the outcome of your case. They will still be there for you if you choose to withdraw from the criminal justice process at any point.
You don't have to have reported to the police to access a Rape Crisis specialist advocacy service. If you're at the point of considering your options and want more information, an ISVA might be able to help you.
A Rape Crisis advocate can also support you with practical issues that might come up as a result of the sexual violence you've experienced. For example, you might want support accessing services like housing, education or health.
Like all Rape Crisis workers, a Rape Crisis advocate or ISVA will listen and believe you and will not put pressure on you to make any decisions or take any action you're not comfortable with.
Sometimes there is a lower age limit for these services. Some Rape Crisis Centres only offer ISVA services to survivors aged 18+, for example.
Some Rape Crisis Centres provide specialist children's advocacy services, and workers who deliver these are sometimes called CHISVAs.