Spreading Excellence

‘Spreading Excellence’ is a Home Office funded project that was established by LimeCulture with the aim of improving the capacity and capability of the sexual violence sector to ensure high-quality and effective services are available for all.

The project is overseen by a National Working Group.  Membership includes commissioners and service providers as well as leaders from the Home Office, NHS, Crown Prosecution Service, Police and the Ministry of Justice . The first project had a specific focus on improving knowledge around the commissioning process relating to sexual violence support services.  Our guidance document developed from the 2018/19 project is available free HERE.

Our new project fully funded by the Home Office for 2020/21 has a focus on improving services for children and young people who have experienced child sexual abuse.  

This project aims to improve the capacity and capability of the sexual violence sector to ensure high-quality and effective services were available for all.

The project seeks to achieve this through the influence and engagement of service users, service providers, commissioners and policy leads working together collaboratively.

The Spreading Excellence National Working Group has supported development of a series of five free virtual workshops. The intention is to bring around 25 stakeholders to each workshop.

The workshops will examine the main themes of commissioning and delivering services for children and young people who have experienced child sexual abuse (CSA).

We have arranged for expert speakers to share their experiences of either providing, commissioning and/or researching CSA. Additionally LimeCulture will be working with service providers to ensure that the voice of lived experienced is reflected during the workshops.

The purpose of each workshop is for participants to work collaboratively to identify the main challenges within these key areas, and to identify solutions and/or best practice.

A printable programme is available to download Spreading Excellence Workshop Programme 2021 (PDF)


These workshops will be delivered virtually via Zoom and can be booked online using the links below.


 In order to ensure a range of organisations and roles are able to participate in this project we would suggest inviduals attend only one workshop. 
Please note these are not training workshops. The purpose of each workshop is for participants to work collaboratively to identify the main challenges within these key areas, and to identify solutions and/or best practice.

We have arranged for expert speakers to share their experiences and LimeCulture will be working with service providers to ensure that the voice of lived experienced is reflected during the workshops.

We will be asking all participants to engage in breakout sessions, bringing with them examples of their organisation’s own service development, any challenges they have experienced and overcome to share best practice stories around CSA support service delivery

Findings from the workshops will be presented in the form of guidance which will be published at an online symposium on the 30th of March 2021 so there should be an opportunity to learn across the main themes for everyone regardless of workshop attendance.
Workshop Title – Best Practice Case StudyDate
Commissioning CSA Services – Lincolnshire OPCC & Centre of Expertise on CSA (CSA Centre) – Book here 9th of February 2021
Providing CSA services – The Green House –Book here 11th of February 2021
Multi-agency support models  – The Lighthouse – Book here 23rd of February 2021
Meeting the needs of victims of CSA  including Criminal Justice Service – Imara – Book here 25th of February 2021
Supporting professionals to respond to victims of CSA – CSA Centre) – Book here2nd of March 2021

Who should attend?

Providers of CSA support services; practitioners or managers (CHISVA, Children and Young People Counselling Services and Social Care Safeguarding Leads), Commissioners of CSA services and Researchers in Practice.

Report and Symposium

LimeCulture will review the findings from the five workshops and these will published via an online national symposium on the 30th of March 2021.

Should you require any further information please contact spreading.excellence@limeculture.co.uk

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

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 
  • Oasis – Oasis 
  • Paloma – Modus Soteria 

As the SAS templates are free source they can be added to any IT or paper systems without fee or licence .

ISVA services operate across such a range of services , organisations and systems that unfortunately we are not able to provide a list of all IT system able to collect the SAS. 

However, if you use another system and would like us to liaise with your system provider please do let us know.

For more information about the Safety and Support Assessment please email info@limeculture.co.uk

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

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 info@limeculture.co.uk for more information.