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 Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Independent Sexual Violence Advisor Service 

Q.  How often will I see you?

A.  During initial stages your ISVA may see you more frequently, in order to assess your needs and develop a support plan.  This is important as many survivors come to ISVAs feeling they have lost control due to the trauma they have experienced. Both the risk assessment and care plan, are reviewed on a regular basis and will help you progress towards and independent life again. 


Q.  How long will you support me for?

A.  It depends on your individual needs and what happens with your case.  We will support you throughout the investigation process, however long that may take. We will also support you at court and for a short time after, to help you achieve the goals that you set in your support plan. 


Q.  How will you make contact with me?

A.  If you have provided an email address and said we can contact you that way, we will initially send you an email with some information about the service.  It is important that you let us know how you would prefer to be contacted and to keep us updated with any changes of mobile phone numbers or addresses.  When we call you, our number will show as withheld.  If you are happy with us leaving a voicemail message for you or sending a text, please let us know when you fill in the paperwork that we will send to you. 


Q.  When can you see me?

A.  We work office hours, so we are available between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.  We can also offer early evening sessions on Tuesdays.


Q.  Where can you see me?

A.  We have offices in the city centre in Sheffield close to public transport links. We can also arrange appointments in other professional settings which may be closer to you, for example: your Doctors surgery and Children Centres.


Q.  Does the ISVA work for the police?
A.  No, the ISVA works independently of the police and courts.  We are able to offer advice and information about the investigation process and make contact with the Police on your behalf, if you want us to.


Q.  Does the ISVA provide legal services?
A.  No, the ISVA works within the Criminal Justice System providing support and explaining the various processes that you will may experience.  They are not trained to offer legal advice. 


Q.  Will I have to go court?

A.  After the Police investigation the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will make a decision based on the evidence, about whether or not the perpetrator can be charged. If the decision to charge is made by the CPS, you may need to attend court in order to give your evidence. 


Q.  Will I have to face my perpetrator?

A.  No. If your case goes to court, special measures can be applied for so that you won’t see your perpetrator.


Q.  Will you still support me if there’s no investigation?

A.  SRASAC’s ISVA service supports anyone going through the criminal justice system (CJS).  We can provide information that will help you to understand what choices you have about reporting your incident to the Police.  We can also help you get other specialist support, for example, Counselling at SRASAC, sexual health, substance and alcohol misuse or benefits and housing advice from other agencies. 


Q.  How long does the investigation last? Will you support me all the way through?

A.  Some investigations can last as long as two years, or even longer.  We can support you throughout this time, with as little or as much contact between you and your ISVA as you decide.  Some clients prefer the occasional text or phone call whenever there has been a development in their case.  Others prefer a regular planned face to face meeting every couple of months.  This will be agreed between you and your ISVA at your initial assessment and planning meeting.