We know how confusing, distressing and upsetting instances of sexual abuse, assault and rape are. If this has happened to you, it’s vital you access professional help and support as soon as possible to help you deal with the emotional and physical impact.

If you’re in crisis, we’ll provide you with a safe space and friendly face to speak with.

We’ll give you the option of medical support and access to an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor, to help you understand the next steps available to you.

Remember: all support options are voluntary and it is completely up to you which you choose to use. You don’t have to report anything to the police to get help and support from us.

Medical Support

If you have been physically or sexual abused or assaulted, it’s essential that you receive the medical care that you may need.

This includes having any cuts or bruises assessed and treated, as well as being tested for any sexual transmitted infections (STIs) or pregnancy.

We’ll help you access professional medical attention through our partner service, Serenity SARC (Sexual Abuse Referral Centre).

SARC can also provide a forensic medical examination, the results of which can be shared with the police if you choose to report the crime, or stored in case you may want to report the incident at a later date.

Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA)

Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) are specially trained to specifically help people who have been victims of sexual abuse or assault.

Since 2005, Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) have been working in local areas across England and Wales to provide continuous support, advice and help for victims and survivors of sexual violence. Over the past decade, access to support from an ISVA has emerged as an important factor in ensuring the needs of victims and survivors are met throughout the criminal justice process.

An ISVA is an adviser who works with people who have experienced rape and sexual assault, irrespective of whether they have reported to the police.

ISVAs provide impartial information to the victim/survivor about all of their options, such as accessing Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) services, reporting to the police (should you wish) and specialist support such as pre-trial therapy and sexual violence counselling.

What does an ISVA do?

The benefit of the ISVA is to provide ongoing continuity, advocacy and impartial advice and information to a victim of sexual violence. The ISVA role includes the following duties:

1.     Tailor Support to the Individual Needs of the Victim/Survivor

2.     Provide Accurate and Impartial Information to Victims/Survivors of Sexual Violence and to the Families of Children and Young People

3.     Provide Emotional and Practical Support

Psychological therapy and counselling are outside the scope of the ISVA role and where the victim/survivors requires this kind of support, appropriate onward referrals will be made into NRCs counselling team.

4.     Provide Support Before, During and After Criminal and Civil Court Proceedings

5.     Act as a Single Point of Contact

The ISVA may be required to liaise with the following organisations:

  • Police
  • Crown Prosecution Service
  • Court-based Witness Service
  • Social Care and other agencies

6.     Ensure the Safety of Victims/Survivors and their Dependants

NRC’s ISVA maintains effective working relationships with a range of local partners, including statutory agencies and voluntary services to ensure the best provision of support services are available for our clients. To this end, depending on the needs of the individual victim/survivor, our ISVA can work in partnership with:

  • the police;
  • the Crown Prosecution Service;
  • sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs)
  • voluntary and statutory agencies (such as domestic abuse agencies, IDVAs, housing agencies, benefit support agencies);
  • public health services (such as sexual health services, GPs and mental health services);
  • local authority safeguarding teams;
  • court-based witness service;
  • local HM Courts and Tribunal Service;
  • schools, colleges and universities;
  • victim liaison service such as Voice; and
  • other local services that may provide support.

By working with an ISVA, you’re not reporting an offence and they won’t tell you what to do. ISVAs provide you with the information you need to make decisions that are right for you.

Northamptonshire Rape Crisis is an organisational member of BACP.