Attorney General Meets ISVAs
Attorney General learns why joined up working is best for survivors
In May Notts SVSS had the pleasure of meeting the Attorney General, Victoria Prentis. Joined by the Solicitor General and Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry, the visit was part of the Attorney General’s 3-day Law Tour of the Midlands and the North, which focussed on support services for those affected by sexual violence.
The Attorney General spent an hour with the Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) service. During this time, they discussed the role of the ISVA, funding, court delays and the impact that ISVA engagement has on the survivor’s experience of the criminal justice process. She also heard first-hand from a survivor who spoke about the ISVA support they received, how it kept them engaged in the court process and helped support their emotional wellbeing.
The Law Officers found out more about the partnership work ISVAs do with organisations such as Nottinghamshire Police and the East Midlands Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). This relationship helps to put the survivor’s needs at the centre of the process, ensuring that they are kept informed and supported throughout.
Work with the Coalition
The ISVA Service also work closely with other specialists in the sexual violence field who form part of the Consent Coalition. Together the coalition raises awareness of consent, challenges myths about rape and sexual violence, and encourage victims-survivors to access support and report. The coalition’s Your Journey booklet, which is a survivor’s guide on reporting and the support available, has previously received praise from the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Keeping survivors supported and informed is vital
Gemma Malfesi, ISVA and Survivors Support Service Manager said “Our ISVA service knows that the impact of sexual violence is wide ranging and can impact a survivor’s relationships, education, mental health and wellbeing. We work hard with the police, CPS and other agencies to ensure that processes are as smooth as possible and that survivors are supported and informed throughout the legal journey.
“There is no doubt that deciding to report is a big decision and the Your Journey booklet, created through the Consent Coalition, helps to explore this. We owe it to survivors to ensure that they have ongoing, robust support whether or not they decide to report.”
Attorney General Victoria Prentis said “Hearing the account of a survivor underlines why support services like Notts SVSS are so important in helping people affected by these horrendous crimes to stay engaged with the process.
“It is easy to overlook how distressing the aftermath of sexual violence can be from reporting the crime to preparation for court and all that comes with it. Having an independent sexual violence advisor on hand to answer questions and give that understanding and support is making a huge difference here in Nottingham.”
Find out more
In Nottingham we are very proud of way that the statutory and support services work together to support survivors of sexual violence. The Your Journey guide was created with input from different services, with feedback from survivors and helps people find out more about support and reporting options in Nottingham. It has recently been translated and is available in six languages. You can also find out more about Notts SVSS ISVA Service and the support they offer on their dedicated page.