Man sitting on bed looking out of window

Help after sexual violence

Victim Support West Yorkshire run services for victims of sexual violence. They are led by our Independent Sexual Violence Advisors, known as ISVAs. Our sexual violence services are available to all genders and ages.

We have both male and female ISVAs as well as ISVAs who are specially trained to work with children and young people (CYP) (17 and under), people with disabilities, and those affected by child sexual exploitation (CSE). Find out more about them below.

An ISVA is a trained specialist who provides advice and support to anyone who’s been the victim of sexual assault or rape, at any time in their life.

ISVAs are specially trained to deal sensitively with the needs of people who have experienced sexual violence. They’ll support you to make choices and empower you to take control over the decisions being made about your life.

Our ISVAs can offer you practical support to deal with your circumstances, make referrals to other agencies for support around additional issues, and offer emotional support.

What your ISVA can do

 Your ISVA can give face-to-face, telephone, text or email support, including:

  • Information and advice to help you think through your options
  • Working with other agencies to make sure you are safe
  • Signposting you to external agencies depending on your needs
  • Supporting you with sexual health or specialists in sexual health
  • Providing support throughout the criminal justice process if you decide you want to report
  • Liaising with police for regular case updates, if you choose to report the sexual assault
  • Providing support under the Victim’s Right to Review
  • Going to court with you and supporting you through a trial.

Our aim is to help give you the confidence, support and information you need to take control of your situation and move forward.

Learn more about ISVAs

Download our leaflet about ISVAs (PDF) or the EasyRead version (PDF) if you would prefer.

You can also watch our British Sign Language (BSL) video explaining who ISVAs are and what they do.

We currently have three specially trained Children and Young Persons ISVAs in our team. They work with those aged up to 17 years.

Our CYP ISVAs can give support including:

  • Signposting the young person to appropriate services
  • Addressing any particular anxieties and concerns
  • Making sure support is available in school or college
  • Liaising with social care or other relevant services to make sure support is in place where possible
  • Supporting parents/carers to help them to support their child
  • Support the victim if they have to attend court. This will include before, during and after a trial.

We have a specially trained Disability ISVA, who focuses on supporting those with diagnosed learning and physical disabilities.

If you have a diagnosed learning and/or physical disability, our Disability ISVA can provide ongoing continuity, advocacy and impartial advice and information about your options. This includes:

  • Reporting to the police
  • Accessing Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) services
  • Specialist support such as pre-trial therapy and sexual violence counselling.

Learn more about ISVAs

Download our leaflet about ISVAs (PDF) or the EasyRead version (PDF) if you would prefer.

You can also watch our British Sign Language (BSL) video explaining who ISVAs are and what they do.

Investigations into non-recent or historic child sexual exploitation (CSE) investigations can take time. An ISVA working within these investigations will work with you to tailor emotional support and practical help to your needs. They’ll help break down myths and stereotypes. They’ll help with referrals to specialist counselling, medical, employment, addiction, education, and housing services. Your ISVA can also help with pre-court visits and support you while you’re in court.

Our CSE Lead ISVA acts as the point of contact between the ISVA team and West Yorkshire Police specialist non recent childhood sexual exploitation/abuse investigation teams.

They will meet with senior police officers from the investigation teams, and carry out training with the investigators, to ensure the survivor’s voice is at the heart of this training. They also feedback survivor experiences with the criminal justice system to investigators so they can reflect and improve their practices.

Our male ISVAs are available to support all survivors of sexual assault and rape.

You’ll be asked your preference of ISVA upon first contact. We have good working relationships with services across West Yorkshire so we can make sure you have gender specific support in place.

The ISVA service is a male accredited service, which means we must follow certain quality marks.

You are likely to be feeling many emotions when you reach out for support. It’s important you know we have fully qualified ISVAs ready to help you. They are trained to identify the needs of male victims seeking support both within and outside of the criminal justice system. The support we offer can be long or short term, it can be in person or virtual, you can even engage via text or email if you prefer.

Learn more about male ISVAs

Download our leaflet about male ISVAs (PDF) also available in Urdu (PDF) and Polish (PDF).

Hear from our Caseworkers

Watch Hattie, an ISVA, at Victim Support West Yorkshire, talk about her role.

Get help now

If you’ve been affected by crime in West Yorkshire, call us on 0300 303 1971.

More help in West Yorkshire

Funded by