Independent Accreditation of ISVA Services – Update!

As we approach the end of the first year of our Independent Accreditation programme for the Quality Standards for Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) Services, we’ve been taking a look at the mostly highs and lows (missed travel connections – nothing to do with the standards programme!).  We’ve been working with lots of ISVA services from up and down the country, but in addition to travelling a fair few miles we thought we would share with you some of our thoughts at this time.

At the start of the year we were thrilled to welcome Charlotte Bond to the team as an Accreditation Manager.  Charlotte is an experienced ISVA, and since joining us she has been leading our work on accrediting the ISVA quality standards and is the brains behind the evidence guide, and frequently asked questions.  With the addition of a second Accreditation Manager, and two separate accreditation programmes with over fifty services enrolled at any one time as you can imagine there is some quite complicated programme management, and other logistics and so in the spring Rachel Donald joined the team to take responsibility for all our administration.  Rachel has been keeping us on the straight and narrow ever since.

Over the summer, our lead Accreditation Manager for the Male Quality Standards programme, Tom Leavesley-Matthews, left us for pastures new.  We have been looking for the right person to fill the space he left, and we are delighted to be able to confirm that we have been able to appoint.  Our latest recruit will be joining us to work on the programme soon which also means we will be back to full strength by the end of the year.

We always knew that ISVA services can vary considerably between providers and commissioners, and across geographical areas.  Throughout the process, we have been capturing any learning points identified to keep our published guidance documents up to date and we have also written a Frequently Asked Questions document to address these. (available at

Despite the differences, we have also found some common challenges services experience. Obtaining valuable feedback and wellbeing outcomes are often listed a consistent difficulty, due to the nature of the work and the vulnerabilities of the clients involved.  However, a very positive theme we identify in a lot of services is the commitment to prioritise staff & client welfare.

As you are aware, the process from self-assessment to site visit and accreditation takes around a year to complete.  Our aim for each service is to work with them to ensure that they have realistic action plans and a work programme to achieve accreditation within a year of starting the process.  Some services have been very proactive and have achieved the award well within the year timescale.  They have given us some really positive feedback about the support they have received from the accreditation team, and we are really pleased to have been given permission to share this with you.

‘We have found the experience supportive and beneficial to us as an organisation from start to finish.  It really did feel like you were working alongside us to ensure that we had the best possible service for our clients.’ FreeVA


I would personally like to thank your team for all their support and guidance, they made the process a lot less daunting than expected…thank you!SV2

We are currently accepting applications for the next wave due to commence in January 2020. If you would like to join the programme and be able to promote your ISVA service with the Quality Mark, visit or email for more information.

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