Independent Domestic and Sexual Violence Advocate
The IDSVA Service works with high risk survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.
The Role of the IDSVA
To provide independent support and advocacy to high-risk victim survivors.
The IDSVA service supports anyone aged 16 and above who is a survivor of domestic abuse and has been assessed as high risk (GOLD).
IDSVA's offer independent specialist support around risk assessment, safety planning options and signposting to external support services as needed. IDSVA's attend the Knowsley MARAC to represent the survivor ensuring the voice of the victim survivor is heard and advocate on their behalf. MARAC is a multi agency risk assessment conference which is held to discuss the high risk cases to address the immediate safeguarding concerns, identify risk, review safety plans and create an action plan.
IDSVA’s provide victim survivors with information about their options for support. This is tailored to their individual situation based on risk assessments completed with the survivor to create safety plans. Safety planning can be anything from advice and guidance, safety at home options, seeking refuge, working alongside partner agencies to ensure an effective multi-agency response for victim survivors.
IDSVA’s can provide information and support around criminal and family court processes, housing needs, safeguarding, emotional support, and education on domestic abuse.
The IDSVA role is a short-term intervention to reduce the immediate risk posed to the victim survivor. The IDSVA will then look to refer the victim survivor to longer term support if needed such as The First Step Community Project.
How to contact the IDSVA team: Call us 0151 458 8942 or email us at IDSVA@thefirststep.org.uk
Any survivors assessed as high risk and referred to MARAC (Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference) will also be referred to the IDSVA service via the Knowsley MARAC process.
There are three reasons why someone would be referred to MARAC:
1. A high risk score of 72 or more on the MeRIT (Merseyside Risk Indicator Toolkit)
2. Escalation in frequency or severity of abuse/violence
3. Professional Judgement
"I can't thank you enough for everything you've done for me, thank you so much, you don't realise how much you've done for me."
"I couldn't have done it without you."
"I'm just so grateful, as long as I know me and the kids are safe that's all that matters."
"I honestly can't thank you enough."
"Thanks so much for all your support I couldn't have done it without you."
"I'm finding everything quite overwhelming but the way you have approached everything has made me feel so much more at peace, I honestly can't thank you enough."
"You're the only person I've felt remotely supported by throughout this."
"I now have the tools I can use and have used which has helped me heal and grow in confidence, I have my hope back I feel anything is possible for me now."
MARAC & How to refer
Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference
MARAC is a multi agency risk assessment conference which is held to discuss high risk cases and address immediate safeguarding concerns.
MARAC is a meeting that is made up of professionals from different agencies such as IDSVA, Police, Social Care, Housing, Health, Drug and Alcohol Services, Probation and various other statutory and non-statutory services.
At MARAC the referring agency gives an overview of the case they have referred, including the identified abuse and risk factors, and provide an update on safeguarding actions taken by their agency. All other agencies in attendance then share information from within their agency that is relevant to the meeting.
The IDSVA role at MARAC is to represent the victim survivor, ensure their voice is heard and advocate on their behalf within that process. The IDSVA will provide an update on support offered, any additional risks identified and summarise the safety plan agreed with the survivor.
All agencies review the collective safety plan for the victim survivor and any children, and agree any actions that have been identified through the meeting. The IDSVA will update the victim survivor following the meeting.
Knowsley MARAC is held fortnightly and is currently a virtual meeting with an in person meeting once a quarter.
The IDSVA Service does not co-ordinate the MARAC or the process of referring into IDSVA. All MARAC referrals must be sent to the MARAC Co-Ordinators at The Safety Communities Team, Knowsley Borough Council.
MARAC referrals and queries can be sent to:
or via secure email:
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