Many specialist support agencies offer an Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) service to victims/survivors of rape and sexual assault. The Independent Sexual Violence Adviser role was commissioned by Baroness Stern through the Home Office Violent Crime Unit in 2005.
This Home Office guidance, created in partnership with The Survivors Trust and other specialist sexual violence and abuse sector organisations, sets out the core principles of an ISVA, which are to:
tailor support to the individual needs of the victim or survivor
provide accurate and impartial information to victims and survivors of sexual violence
provide emotional and practical support to meet the needs of the victim or survivor
provide support before, during and after court
act as a single point of contact
ensure the safety of victims and survivors and their dependants
provide a professional service
An ISVA is trained to look after your needs, and to ensure that you receive care and understanding. They will help you understand how the criminal justice process works, and will explain things to you, such as what will happen if you report to the police, and the importance and process of forensic DNA retrieval.
An ISVA is there to provide you with information only so that you can make the right decision for you. By contacting them, you are not expected to report any offence to the police.