Module 1 of our 6th ISVA Development Programme took place this week on 6 and 7 May. The course was fully booked, with 20 ISVAs coming together from around England and Wales to start their 6-module professional accredited course that will see them train for 2 days per month through until November 2014.
The 2 days’ training could not have gone any better. The venue was fantastic, set in rural village in Rugby, ideal for training of this nature. The staff could not have done more for us- keeping us fed and watered for the 2 day duration. Some of the ISVAs stayed overnight at the venue, so were able to socialise together after the training had finished.
The ISVAs themselves were a fantastic bunch! They come from a variety of places across the country, from as far as Devon and Middlesbrough, from Liverpool to Oxfordshire, and they come from a range of employing organisation, so the experiences that they bring with them are rich and diverse. Some of the ISVAs were incredibly experienced, having done the job for several years, while others were brand new in post or have only a few months as an ISVA under their belt. This all added to a great contribution from the ISVAs who were clearly keen to share knowledge and experiences, something which we at LimeCulture think is vital for the ISVA workforce to be able to do to enhance learning and overcome solutions collectively.
The topics covered in Module 1 are based around the roles and responsibilities of an ISVA. In theory this should be a fairly straight forward area to cover but in reality it is the module with some of the toughest material to consider. The ISVA role has evolved over time, meaning that the responses from ISVAs is varied across the country. Although there is clear support for the role, and a push from Government to expand the role, there has never been a professional framework to guide ISVAs in how to conduct their roles- nor is there an nationally agreed job description to ensure they are all adopting the same role. However, the good news is that the ISVA role is now fairly well understood, but it is complex and multi-faceted. The role of the ISVA should not be underestimated. They work in tough circumstances, to provide practical and emotional support to often very vulnerable people, having experienced sexual violence. Their role should not be confused with Crisis Workers or Counsellors. They are Advocates and with this comes a complex set of responsibilities and rules. The criminal justice process is a large element of their role, and therefore the strict rules and regulations that apply there must be fully understood by the ISVA. Clear boundaries and communication are key.
Module 1 explores all of these knotty issues in great detail and the ISVAs are encouraged to reflect on their current practice. The result of this is that even the most experienced ISVAs on the course question what they do as part of their job and why they do it. They are encouraged by the trainers to think about potential issues they have never considered before. Importantly, the ISVAs begin to see where their role sits amongst a bigger picture of professional responses to victims of sexual violence and by the end of Module 1, the ISVAs are clear about what they should be doing as part of their role and importantly, what they shouldn’t be doing! This is all, of course, extremely important to ensuring ISVA responses are safe, effective, efficient and appropriate. It also works towards building a consistent ISVA approach across the country.
We designed the course with the aim of supporting a robust, specialised and knowledgable workforce who are highly trained and can stand up to professional challenge (and challenge other professionals where necessary) in support of victims of sexual violence. We aim to improve the confidence and competence of the ISVAs and Module 1 plays a big part in achieving this aim. At LimeCulture, we don’t believe that ISVAs need to be bogged down in theoretical study to help them deliver their important services to victims. We don’t believe the best way to train a professional workforce to to set essays for them- they are busy enough as it is! We believe that what they need is practical knowledge and information that assists them in doing their jobs and impacts on their everyday practice and enhances their skills. Module 1 is just the beginning! We are really looking forward to working with this excellent group of committed ISVAs until the end of November 2014.
LimeCulture is the leading provider of ISVA training, having now trained over 120 ISVAs since 2011. Our current course is now fully booked. However, we are now operating a waiting list for the next course which will start later in the year. We will be announcing new dates shortly- so watch this space!
LimeCulture has also launched a new professional course, the Advanced Development Programme (ADP) for ISVAs. This 3 day accredited course is aimed at experienced ISVAs to support their continued professional development. For further details about this course please click here The first ADP will be taking place in Manchester on 14, 15 and 16 July and costs £500 plus VAT per person. There are currently a few places left on this course. Once it is fully booked, we will operate a waiting list and announce additional dates. To book, please email firstname.lastname@example.org