Today, Friday 25 October, saw LimeCulture launch a new group on facebook especially for Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs). The new facebook group, named ‘Network of ISVAs’ can be found by clicking here
The purpose of the Network of ISVAs is a private space where ISVAs can chat with their peers. The description for the group reads: ‘The aim of this group is to bring together Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs). This group is a place where ISVAs can ask questions, discuss and share ideas and experiences, help one another and learn from each other. Whether ISVA services are located in the Voluntary and Community Sector, SARCs or Statutory Agencies, the ISVAs play an integral role in providing support and responding to those who have been raped on sexually assaulted. For this reason, ISVAs are an important workforce and this group is intended as a place where ISVAs can network’.
LimeCulture is a huge supporter of ISVAs and the work that they do in support of victims of sexual violence. We have been campaigning to central government for more support for the ISVA workforce. This has resulted in Home Office funding being made available to pay for accredited training for some ISVAs, but there is still more to be done. Following a range of discussions with ISVAs (including a series of focus groups in 2012, 5 cohorts of ISVAs that have undertaken the LimeCulture ISVA Development Programme and Knowledge and Network: An Event for ISVAs in April 2013), one of the things LimeCulture are most concerned about is the isolation and lack of peer support that a number of ISVAs have reported. This cannot be allowed to continue. The jobs of ISVAs are hard enough without them feeling isolated and alone on top of what they do. They deserve to be able to access support from their peers, seek advice and learn from the experiences of other people doing the same job. Surely?!
LimeCulture have been lobbying the Home Office to support them to establish a National Network for ISVAs, but as yet have received no response to the proposal. Although the Sexual Violence Against Children and Vulnerable People Action Plan does contain an action at point 15 to support the establishment of an ‘ISVA national network’. So although disappointed in the lack of response from the Home Office to support the establishment of this National Network, we remain determined to continue to support the ISVA workforce. Therefore, as an interim solution, we have established the Network for ISVAs in the hope that the ISVAs will find this facebook group a useful tool to get in contact with each other.
It is the hope of LimeCulture that the ISVAs will run this group themselves, free from the politics surrounding their role and many of their organisations, and use it to post ideas, suggestions, solutions and chat to other ISVAs from different parts of the country. Lets see how it goes. If it works, then hopefully we can demonstrate to the Home Office the need for a formal National Network of ISVAs afterall!