The Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) role was introduced in 2006 by the Home Office to provide continuous support, advice and help for victims and survivors of sexual violence.
Our ISVAs are trained sexual violence specialists. Their main role is to provide information and practical and emotional support to victims and survivors who have reported to the police, or are unsure what to do about what has happened to them.
We operate two ISVA services:
- Our community ISVA service is dedicated to supporting female survivors across Oxfordshire.
- Our Oxford University ISVA service is dedicated to supporting students of Oxford University.
Oxfordshire Community ISVA
Our Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) provides advice and emotional and practical support to survivors of sexual violence across Oxfordshire.
Our ISVA works in a non-directive and non-judgmental way. This means that she can give you information about legal processes and services that are there to support you, but will not try to influence you to take any particular course of action. She will support the decisions you make and will not judge you.
Who the service is for
The ISVA service is open to any person over the age of 18 who has experienced sexual abuse and/or rape, whether in the past or recently, as a child or as an adult. If you are looking for services for young women aged 14-18 please visit our SEE Project pages.
The ISVA can:
- Provide information about the criminal justice process if you’re considering reporting, and help you to make informed choices about what is right for you
- Be an independent supporter alongside you throughout the criminal justice process, up to and including trial
- Contact other agencies and advocate on your behalf (e.g. police, housing, doctor etc.)
- Signpost or refer you to other types of support in your local area (e.g. counselling)
- Support you to complain to the police or other agencies
We accept referrals from survivors themselves and from others who have the survivor’s permission, including other organisations. Find more information about making a referral.
Once you’ve made contact, the ISVA will phone you for an initial chat, and then arrange a time to meet you in a location that’s convenient for you.
Oxford University ISVA
The Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) for Oxford University is employed by OSARCC but works at Oxford University to exclusively support their students. This means that she is completely independent from the University, your college or any other agencies, and will tailor her support according to your needs.
The ISVA provides advice and emotional and practical support to any student who has experienced sexual violence, recently or in the past.
Our ISVA works in a non-directive and non-judgmental way. This means that she can give you information about legal processes and services that are there to support you, and will support you to explore your options, but will not tell you what to do. She will support the decisions you make and will not judge you.
Who the service is for
This ISVA service is open to any student at the Oxford University who has experienced harassment, sexual abuse and/or rape, whether recently or in the past, as a child or as an adult. The service is open to any student regardless of their age or gender.
The University ISVA can:
- Provide information about the criminal justice process if you’re considering reporting to the police, and help you to make informed choices about what is right for you
- Provide information on reporting, complaints and disciplinary procedures at Oxford University and its Colleges
- Provide information about your rights
- Liaise with the police, your College, CPS and other relevant agencies
- Accompany you to meetings relating to the sexual violence you have experienced
- Give you practical support and advocacy with regards to other services (e.g. studies, sexual and physical health, mental health, etc.)
- Help you plan your safety and access appropriate support at the University or in your local area (e.g. counselling)
The ISVA service accept referrals from students themselves and from others, including other University organisations, as long as they are sent with the survivor’s permission. To make an online referral, please visit our Referrals page.
The ISVA can be contacted at OxfordUniISVA@osarcc.org.uk or at our office number 01865 725311.
Once you’ve made contact, she will phone you or email you for an initial chat and then arrange a time to meet you in a location that’s convenient for you. The ISVA can also offer you phone or email support if you feel uncomfortable meeting face-to-face.
All queries will be treated in confidence and your details will not be shared with any other organisation.
Any information you share with the ISVA will be kept confidential within OSARCC. Some information about people receiving ISVA support may be shared between other OSARCC team members and the OSARCC clinical supervisor.
We maintain boundaries of confidentiality between the ISVA service and OSARCC’s phone, email and text listening services, so that people receiving ISVA support can still access these services as an alternative, confidential support mechanism.
We will only break confidentiality if you ask us to, or if you’ve given us relevant information that makes us concerned for your or somebody else’s safety. For more information about this, please read our Child Protection policy.
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