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How ISVAs help people who have been raped or sexually assaulted in Devon and Cornwall

A new £5m five-year partnership contract has been awarded to provide support for victims of rape and sexual assault in Devon and Cornwall.

How ISVAs help people who have been raped or sexually assaulted in Devon and Cornwall

Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly funds a number of Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) to work with people who have experienced rape and sexual assault.

The new partnership contract is being led by the Women’s Centre Cornwall and will see ISVAs working in Devon and Cornwall across a range of specialisms. It will come into effect on October 1.

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “I am pleased to welcome the Women’s Centre Cornwall who will be leading our new ISVA contract.

“I am committed to ensuring victims of such traumatic crimes, which can be isolating and distressing, get the best possible support to cope and recover, and I am confident in the delivery of a long-term, robust and innovative service to those who need specialist support after experiencing rape or sexual violence.

“I would like to reassure anyone who is currently working with an ISVA or may be in the future that there has been no cut in funding and there will be no reduction in the number of ISVA roles across Devon and Cornwall.”

Jackie May, Chief Executive of the Women’s Centre Cornwall, said: “We are delighted to have been selected to deliver the ISVA service and are looking forward to working with the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office to ensure that survivors of sexual violence of all ages and genders receive excellent support. Our new partnership brings together the collective expertise of six highly skilled local organisations: Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services, the Children’s Society, Intercom Trust, West Cornwall Women’s Aid, the Olive Project and Konnect Communities. Together, we are well placed to effectively serve every community across the peninsula “

All parties will be working to ensure the transition between suppliers is handled sensitively with minimal disruption for anyone working with an ISVA.

Anyone who feels they might need the support of an ISVA can call 0300 303 4626 or get further information at sarchelp.co.uk. More resources on your rights and what to expect after experiencing any crime can be found at victimcare-dc.org.

 

What is an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA)?

Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) provide specialist support to those who have experienced rape, sexual assault or abuse at any time in their life.

ISVAs are independent of the police, and provide impartial information to the victim/survivor about all of their options. This could be reporting to the police, accessing Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) services, and specialist support such as sexual violence counselling.

If the victim/survivor decides not to report to the police, the ISVA can help them access other services for ongoing support. The ISVA can also take anonymous information to pass to police if the victim/survivor wants them to.

Where someone is going through a criminal justice process, the ISVA will work with them until the conclusion of the case or until they feel they no longer need support. ISVAs offer emotional as well as practical support, helping to manage expectations and explain why there might be delays in a case, what each step means and how it might affect them or make them feel, and going with them to interviews and court.

They also provide support to help people cope with what has happened to them, and help them to access further support if they want it.

ISVAs support women, men and children of all ages (and where appropriate their families), including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender victims/survivors, those with disabilities and those of all ethnicities and nationalities.

To find out more information or to contact an ISVA, call: Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Helpline: 0300 303 4626 or visit https://sarchelp.co.uk/