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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) Services play an important role in providing specialist tailored support to all victims and survivors of sexual violence.
In September 2017, the Home Office published the essential elements of the ISVA role Alongside the National Occupational Standards, which provide a comprehensive approach to individual ISVA’s practice, however they do not describe the quality standards that are required to assure safe and effective ISVA service delivery.
Additionally, given the complex nature of support provided by ISVA services, and their important role in supporting both health & well being and the criminal justice process, it is clear that the provision of ISVA services must be of the highest quality in order to provide effective, professional and boundaried support to their clients, who are often extremely vulnerable. During our extensive training and consultancy work in this area, we are routinely asked to provide support and guidance on how best to quality assure the provision of ISVA services.
Therefore, in consultation with policy leads, ISVA service providers and their commissioners, LimeCulture CIC intends to develop and implement ISVA Service Quality Standards
The standards will be designed to benefit a range of stakeholders, including:
- Commissioners who will be able to commission against service quality standards which assure quality and support effective performance management
- Providers who will be able to evidence the quality and equality of their ISVA service provision against the standards using an indepenent quality kite-mark.
- Victims/survivors of sexual violence (or referrers or services users) who will be able to identify, access and have confidence in the quality of their local ISVA service.
LimeCulture is keen to consult as widely as possible to ensure the ISAV Service Quality standards reflect the diverse delivery and commissioning arrangements of ISVA services. On that basis, we have invited commissioners and providers of ISVA services to attend consultations workshops in early June . This workshops will be chaired by Dame Vera Baird, PCC for Northumbria (PCC lead for victim’s services)
Crucially, the development process will also involve consultation with individuals who have accessed ISVA services via a survey promoted online in order to gather their views, experiences and suggestions. They survey will be online from the 1st of June unitil the 20th of July 2018 at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/isvasupport
The draft service standards will be circulated for consultation over Summer 2018 and feedback will be collated to develop and improve the quality standards.
It is proposed that the service standards will be reviewed by a range of ISVA service providers and commissioners who will test the quality standards to ensure they are fit-for purpose.
Our ambition is to formally launch the ISVA Service Quality Standards at the annual National ISVA Conference, which will take place in Birmingham on the 17 October 2018.
To be added to our mailing list for the development of the ISVA Service Quality Standards email email@example.com
As services for male victims/survivors are developed, it is crucial that they are able to meet the specific needs of their clients.
The Male Survivors Partnership (MSP), a collaborative of organisations supporting male victims/survivors of sexual violence, commissioned LimeCulture CIC to research, develop and implement quality standards for services supporting male victims/survivors of sexual violence, including an accreditation and monitoring process.
The purpose of these quality standards is to improve the consistency of service provision for male victims/survivors. The overall aim of the quality standards is to create a framework and benchmark that can be used to develop and improve the quality of service provision to male victims/survivors, in particular recognising their gender based needs.
This ground-breaking project has been enabled by an award of £85,000 from the Lloyds Bank Foundation England & Wales – Transform Fund. Launched in 2016, this fund aims to stimulate innovation and improvements in the domestic and sexual abuse sectors.
Importantly, sitting alongside these quality standards will be an accreditation process, which will allow service providers meeting the quality standards to achieve a ‘kitemark’.
This will act as evidence and independent verification as to the quality of the support they provide for male victims/survivors, something which services, commissioners and males all told us is really important to them.
The standards were launched on the 31st of January 2018
Guidance for Commissioners and Providers Supporting Implementation of the Quality Standards for Supporting Male Victims/Survivors of Sexual Violence is available at the Male Survivor Partnership website
Independent Accreditation, Monitoring and Support Programme
Following a section process in February/March 2018, 10 services have been selected to trial the Independent Accreditation, Monitoring and Support programme due to complete in March 2019.
- The Oak Centre SARC (Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust)
- The Saturn Centre SARC (Mountain Healthcare)
- Survivors UK
- Survivors in Transition
- Notts SVS Services
- West Yorkshire ISVA Service (Victim Support)
- Stepping Stones, North Wales
- Survivors Manchester
This trial will test the Independent Accreditation, Monitoring and Support process which has been designed to provide an independent ‘kite mark’ to services who meet the Quality Standards. While it is vital that this independent process is able to rigorously assesses and accurately monitor services against the Quality Standards, it is also important that for those services who do not yet meet the Quality Standards or are working towards achieving it, this process can identify where services need further work to meet the quality standards and provide targeted support to assist their development For further detail on the selection process click here.
We are aware that a number of services are disappointed not to have been selected as Wave 1 Sites and we are now in discussions about expanding the Independent Accreditation, Monitoring and Support Programme to further services through additional waves.
We would be delighted to provide more information about how to ensure the Quality Standards are adopted locally (by service providers supporting male victims/survivors) and the Independent Accreditation, Monitoring and Support Programme (i.e., how to include local services in Wave 2, 3 and beyond).
For any queries concerning the Quality Standards , or the programme of Independent Accreditation Monitoring and Support, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
- Download the Safety and Support (SAS) Assessment Toolkit (PDF, 2MB)
- Download the Safety and Support (SAS) Assessment Template (Word, 154KB)
- Download the Safety and Support (SAS) Planning Template (Word, 127KB)
- Download a presentation on the Safety and Support (SAS) Assessment Development and Implementation (PDF, 525KB)
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 email@example.com
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