LimeCulture is committed to ensuring that all of the information that we provide, or use as part of our work, is as up to date as possible. We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of developments in the field of sexual violence and this includes being aware of current professional thinking, new and emerging trends and the direction of policy and practice.  Often research forms a part of a project that we are asked to deliver, with the information underpinning any reports, standards, recommendations or service improvements that we may make. 

However you look at it, research plays a big part in development, and here at LimeCulture we recognise the value in learning from others (including from other parts of the world), monitoring changes and capturing the details that make progress a reality as they occurs. And of course, research enables us to share the learning of our challenges and our successes.

We have been involved in a few interesting research projects recently, some of which are described below.  However, over the coming years, LimeCulture intends to expand the research aspect of our work.  If you think we may able to support you with research you are currently doing, or thinking of commissioning, please email for more information.

‘Spreading Excellence’ is a Home Office funded project that has been created by LimeCulture CIC to support the sexual violence sector to ensure excellent services are commissioned and available for victims/survivors.

The Spreading Excellence project aims to improve the capacity and capability of the sexual violence sector to make certain high-quality and effective services are available for all.

In November 2018, LimeCulture hosted the first meeting of a National Working Group to oversee the schedule of work for the Spreading Excellence Project, membership included commissioners, service providers as well as policy leads from the Home Office, NHS England, Crown Prosecution Service and the Ministry of Justice .

The Working Group identified that the key enabler for this Project is a specific focus on improving knowledge around the commissioning process relating to sexual violence support services. This will be delivered by coproducing a suite of information guides intended for providers and the development of a set of commissioning principles for sexual violence support services.

In February 2019, LimeCulture then hosted a Commissioners Symposium to engage with a wide range of commissioners including NHS England, Police and Crime Commissioners, Local Authority, Clinical Commissioning Groups at a day-symposium. This was designed to identify, share and explore common themes, challenges and solutions relating to commissioning of local sexual violence support services.

In July 2019 guidance was launched  guidance is to help providers of sexual violence support services, particularly those in the voluntary sector, to develop knowledge of local commissioning processes and better engage in them, in order to produce better outcomes for victims/survivors of sexual violence.

This guidance focuses on sexual violence service providers as key stakeholders in local commissioning arrangements and aims to:

• support providers to influence and engage with local commissioners
• contribute to local commissioning arrangements at every stage of the process
• support the delivery of the expected outcomes at operational level.

Download  – Understanding Local Commissioning Processes – A Practical Guide for Providers of Sexual Violence Services

If you have any questions with regards to this project, please do not hesitate to contact us via email or by phone +44 (0)203 633 0018

Mapping ISVA Services in England and Wales

In August 2015, LimeCulture was commissioned by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse to undertake an ISVA Services mapping exercise. The mapping exercise took place between September and November 2015 and enabled LimeCulture to compile a database based on a snap-shot of the ISVA services that were operating during that time.

This was the first time that ISVA services across England and Wales have been mapped in this way and therefore the outcome of the Mapping exercise is that it provides the most up-to-date information about ISVA services that is currently available.

The ISVA Service Mapping exercise also enabled the identification of individual ISVAs who operate within the ISVA Services across England and Wales for the first time.  Although this does not amount to a central register of ISVAs, it does provide the most comprehensive list of individual ISVAs currently available, as well as providing information about their accredited training.

The main aim of the Mapping exercise was to underpin the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’s knowledge around ISVA services, should they be required by individuals engaging with the Inquiry who are in need of local support.

Application of Section 41 Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999: A Survey of Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs)

LimeCulture conducted a survey of Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) and asked them about the court cases that they have attended over a two-year period – April 2015 – April 2017 – the findings have shown that Section 41 of the Youth Justice Crime and Evidence Act 1999 is not alway being applied in line with Government guidelines.

Section 41 was introduced in 1999 to protect victims from unfair questioning about their previous sexual history during court proceedings. 

The findings outlined in this report show that complainants are not always consistently informed about the intention to question them about their sexual history, which could also mean there is no opportunity for the prosecution to challenge this, or to take instructions, or to call witnesses to challenge the facts of the sexual history being discussed. As victims of sexual crime do not have access to independent legal representation, it is up to the judge or prosecution to ensure Section 41 is upheld correctly. It is clear this not happening in all cases.

To view the report please click here

Risk and need identification and management are an essential element of the ISVA role. Effective support from an ISVA will include an awareness of their client’s overall needs as well as an awareness of the degree of risk that they may face or present to themselves and/or others.

In Autumn 2016 LimeCulture CIC was awarded funding from the Home Office Support for Victims and Survivors of Sexual Abuse (SVSSA) Fund to develop a Risk and Needs Assessment Tool for use by all ISVAs working across England and Wales to support victims and survivors of sexual violence.

The Safety and Support (SAS) Assessment has been developed specifically for use by Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs)

The benefits of using the SAS Assessment will be wide-ranging for clients, individual ISVAs, ISVA Managers, ISVA Services (at an organisational level) and Commissioners.

How the SAS Assessment has been developed?

The development of the Safety and Support (SAS) Assessment has included learning from existing and other risk & needs assessment tools (e.g. drug & alcohol, domestic violence and mental health) as well as consultation and feedback from more than 50 ISVAs (and their Services) to assist in the design of the tool.

The SAS Assessment has been trialled by 5 Pathfinder services to identify any specific implementation issues as well as establish the effectiveness of the SAS Assessment, ensuring it is fit for purpose and meets the needs of ISVA’s and their clients.

LimeCulture provide a series of regional workshops during March 2017 (Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, Peterborough, Birmingham, Cardiff, Bristol, Brighton and London ) as well as additional workshops for Commissioners and ISVA Managers ( Birmingham and London) in May 2017,  to support the implementation of the SAS Assessment. 

Safety and Support (SAS) Assessment

The SAS Assessment is a domain-based assessment that allows the ISVA to identify their client’s individual risks and needs (without prescribing a form of words or imposing a checklist).

It allows ISVAs to more robustly identify, monitor and manage the individual risks and/needs of their clients over time

There are 14 domains included in the SAS Assessment (including personal and individual requirements, harm from others, health and medical, employment & education, risk to services & professionals and professional judgement)

Given the fluidity of risk, it recommended that the SAS Assessment is used by the ISVA at every contact with the client. A full SAS Assessment is suggested at the initial meeting, then reviewed at each contact with the client (with a focus on the domains where risk and/or need is identified). It should be reviewed in full at scheduled intervals throughout the journey of support provided by the ISVA.

The SAS Assessment allows the ISVA to draw up an individual and tailored Safety and Support (SAS) Plan to meet all of the client’s risks and needs, and provides clarity about the nature of support the ISVA will provide.

Implementation of the Safety and Support (SAS) Assessment

The SAS Assessment and Support Plan templates and accompanying toolkit can be downloaded at no cost using the links below. The templates can be customised and amended to include service specification, commissioning or management requirements.

Inclusion on IT systems 

  • DPMS – Rape Crisis England and Wales have confirmed that it will be uploaded to DPMS in August.
  • Oasis – Oasis has confirmed that it will be uploaded at the end of June
  • Paloma – Modus Soteria – SAS Assessment has been uploaded and are currently testing it before alerting their users. We expect this to be ready soon.

If you use another system and would like us to liaise with them on your behalf, please do let us know if we can be of assistance.

For more information about the Safety and Support Assessment please email

An Audit of Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVA)

During August and September 2014, King’s College London and LimeCulture jointly conducted ‘An Audit of Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs)’. The research was published in February 2015 and yielded new information about the role of the ISVA, including a profile of ISVAs and their clients, as well as a description of the way in which the role is being undertaken, the nature of caseloads and working practices, ISVA training and supervision, and ISVAs’ perceptions on the role and its future. The findings have implications for policy and practice; these are framed in ten key recommendations.

To view the report please click here