Independent Sexual Violence Advocate (ISVA) Service
Have you reported what happened to the police but you’re not sure what happens next?
Are you not sure if you should report to the police?
Are you not sure if what happened to you is a crime?
Are you worried about giving evidence in court?
We offer ISVA support to women and girls aged 13 and upwards who have survived rape and childhood sexual abuse in South London and who are thinking about reporting to the police or who are currently going through the criminal justice system.
You can report a sexual offence at any time after the event – there is no time limit. We offer support during this difficult time, accepting and understanding how you may be feeling. We give clear information about the police and court process. We can work together to reduce anxiety through empathy and understanding.
If you have experienced sexual violence, you may be experiencing a range of emotions. However you are feeling right now, know that you do not have to do this alone. We are here to help and we will support you by explaining every step of the journey ahead, so you can make the best decisions for yourself.
The criminal justice system can seem confusing and complicated. If you are considering reporting or you have already reported to the police, our ISVAs are here to explain and explore all your options, give you an overview of what will happen and keep you informed.
For more information check out our #BreakTheSilence films which show the process of someone going through the criminal justice system
How an ISVA can help
- We can provide practical, factual and emotional support throughout your involvement with the criminal justice system.
- We can explain the process from ‘report to court’ and provide you with honest choices so you can make informed decisions.
- We can give clear explanations of legal terms, proceedings, police protocols and YOUR rights.
- We can accompany you to police stations, video statements, medical appointments and Crown Prosecution Service meetings.
- We can give a thorough overview of a trial, including multiple live court visits and supporting you at court during the trial itself.
- We can offer ‘Grounding Sessions’ in conjunction with our Counselling department to help you deal with panic attacks, flashbacks and other symptoms of stress.
- We can provide immediate links to specialist counselling.
- We will treat you with respect and always be honest.
Our service is free of charge. Our offices are women-only, anonymous and close to the centre of Croydon, creating a safe and comfortable environment for you to feel believed, supported and to be yourself. You and your recovery is our priority.
Above all else, you need to know that what has happened to you was not your fault, should never have happened, and should not cause you to feel ashamed. You deserve the very best possible help and support.
If you live in any of the South London boroughs and are considering reporting, or want support call our ISVAs to talk through any fears, concerns or questions you may have.
Call 0208 683 3311 and ask to speak to our ISVAs. Our office hours are Monday to Friday 10 am to 6 pm.
If you are outside of South London you can contact our helpline on 0808 802 9999 to see if there are ISVA services available in your area.
We have created some support documents for survivors. Click on the links below to download them:
We have also created some information for young people:
For clear and accurate information about the law and the process of reporting Rights of Women have produced specialist legal handbooks. In particular:
- From Report to Court: A handbook for Adult Survivors of Sexual Violence
- Your Rights, Your Body, Your life. Sexual violence and the Law: A Young Persons Guide