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Our Advocacy Service

What is an ISVA?

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?

Our team of Independent Sexual Violence Advocates (ISVA) offer specialist support to women and girls aged 13 and over who have survived rape and childhood sexual abuse in South London and who are thinking about reporting to the police or who are currently reporting 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.

Click here for information if you are a survivor of Recent Rape and Sexual Assault 

Click here to read our overview of the system: Rape, serious sexual assault and the criminal justice system

What if I live outside of South London?

You can find information about your nearest Rape Crisis ISVA through Rape Crisis England and Wales.

If you live in Scotland then please go to Rape Crisis Scotland for further information and support.

Information and Resources

We have created some support documents for survivors. Click on the links below to download them:

What is an ISVA?

Impacts of Rape

Myths about Rape

Information for supporters of survivors of Rape

Impacts of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Myths about Childhood Sexual Abuse

Information for supporters of survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

We have also created some information for young people:

What is a Young Person’s ISVA?

Impacts of Rape – Young People

Information for supporters of young survivors of Rape

Impacts of Childhood Sexual Abuse – Young People

Information for supporters of young survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

For clear and accurate information about the law and the process of reporting Rights of Women have produced specialist legal handbooks. In particular:

Other Legal Advice

Support Documents

Click here to view our support documents. Each document is available as a PDF download.

Safe Browsing

Your privacy is important to us. Click here to learn ways to hide your visit to the Rape Crisis web site.