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  1. ISVA Limelight awards

    Limeculture’s LimeLight Awards for outstanding ISVA support is open for nominations until Wednesday 31st August. The four awards acknowledge the outstanding contributions and achievements of individual adult ISVAs, children ISVAs, ISVA Teams and ISVA Managers who have demonstrated excellence, dedication and commitment to supporting victims of sexual violence through their work.

    Vicky and Lisa

    Vicky Bardsley (right) with RSVP CEO Lisa Thompson

    The LimeLight Children’s ISVA Award is dedicated to Vicky Bardsley,   an accredited ISVA who worked at RSVP. Vicky sadly lost her battle with cancer in 2015 leaving behind her family, many friends and her committed colleagues, and a positive legacy for the many sexually abused children and young people that she has supported.

    If you you have received excellent support from an ISVA, you can nominate them for an award, follow the link to download a nomination award and cast your vote. Return your completed nominations via email to

    Posted 25 August 2016
  2. Settling in as a new ISVA

    We recently appointed a number of new ISVAs to grow our advocacy service, here is a guest blog post from one of our news ISVAs, Lisa Holden.

    Hi and welcome.  I’m Lisa a new independent sexual violence advocate (ISVA) here. I wanted to write a post offering a glimpse into how I’ve settled in to my first month on the job.

    As an advocate I provide emotional and practical support to survivors of sexual violence, offering them a voice and ensuring their wishes, opinions and needs are listened to and heard. This includes informing and supporting clients through their options regarding police reporting, aiding survivors through legal and court proceedings and procedures (ensuring any special measures are requested and provided), and offering support to clients who wish to access other service providers, such as organising GUM appointments and attending with the client for moral support.

    Firstly I would like to take this opportunity to discuss the magnificence of the RSVP team. From ISVAs, managers, counsellors and administration staff, I have never found a more welcoming, caring, passionate and inspiring workforce. I not only consider myself immensely lucky to be part of such a supportive team, but I feel honoured to be working for an extremely worthy cause.

    Consequently, settling in within the tremendously fast paced ISVA office has been an easy and relaxed journey for me. Each staff member has been attentive in helping me learn both the technical and emotional aspects of my role, ensuring that I have a safe and comfortable environment to ask questions. The team always makes sure I am on the right track and regularly ask ‘how are you?’ and ‘how are you getting on?’ which has really made me feel at home.

    There are so many aspects of my job that I can already say I LOVE. The role is so varied and every day is different. One day I could be undertaking initial assessments with clients and discussing reporting procedures or undertaking an anonymous report with the police, the next I could be attending an ABE interview with a client, or going to a GUM appointment with a client.  The fact that I am responsible for my own caseload and organise my own appointments allows me to feel a sense of freedom and autonomy I haven’t felt before and this has had a massive positive effect on me.

    The organisation are also really focused on making every member of the team an expert in the field and encourage us to undertake any relevant training opportunities.  I am excited about undertaking the ISVA specialist Lime Culture accredited training, and I’m extremely enthusiastic about becoming a young person’s mental health first aider. I have also attended training on FGM and alcohol and drug abuse.

    But what I love most is my pastoral duties. Supporting and empowering clients by ensuring that they have all the right information and tools to make their own decisions is extremely rewarding. Providing clients with a safe space to explore their options and needs, as well as providing a platform for them to be heard enables them to gain back a sense of control at a time that seems completely out of control. Being the person that supports them to do that is an incredible honour.

    Learn more about the ISVA service here. You can contact us for more information or to make a referral here.

    Posted 25 May 2016
  3. Remembering Vicky

    Vicky and Lisa


    We’re so sad at the loss of Vicky our amazing colleague and friend, and moved by the extremely kind-hearted request of Vicky’s children and family that people make donations to RSVP in her memory. Vicky made massive differences for sexually abused children, young people and families while at RSVP and we know there are many people who now have a more hopeful future because of her. This appeal means that lovely Vicky, at the request of her loved ones, will continue to make a difference for the future


    Posted 3 December 2015
  4. Volunteering – a work of heart

    This year’s Volunteers Week took place 1-7 June. We currently work with over 60 volunteers who help RSVP deliver  vital support to survivors in various ways, from direct client care (counselling, helpline) to marketing, fundraising and research. But, why volunteer? Here’s a little insight from one of our amazing volunteer counsellors.

    When I tell people that I volunteer as a counsellor, I’m usually met with hushed silence. I suspect I’m sometimes dismissed as a bit of a ‘do-gooder.’ One of those irritating people with too much time on their hands who make a big deal of their selflessness.

    None of these labels quite fit. I’m certainly no angel. And while my empty nest has relieved me of big financial burdens, I still have to bring home some bread.

    Maybe the real question underlying ‘why volunteer?’ is curiosity about my motives? Doing “owt for nowt” makes little sense in a society where value is quantified in an hourly rate. Never mind that I don’t properly value myself by working for nothing, what possible worth could voluntary work have for the world at large? I think we all know the answer to that one. Volunteering probably contributes billions to the UK economy, though that’s the very least of its virtues, even in a society that monetises everything. Its big-heartedness can be felt in every household, community, town and city across the land, providing everything that makes life worth living.

    The fact that I’m not paid for my voluntary work is less a reflection of its worth – more a critique on how we organise our economy.

    group of women

    But none of this really explains why over 19 million people in the UK choose to volunteer every year. I suspect that for most, like me, the motivation is a simple one. I absolutely love what I do. It stirs my heart and expands my mind. Most of all it connects me deeply to people in a way that would never be sanctioned in the commercial world where profit rules. I get to work in a great organisation which is fired by compassion and delivered with the kind of professionalism that would put the big corporates to shame.

    Volunteering is all about nurturing social relationships, the ‘greatest single cause of happiness’ according to psychologist Michael Argyle. That’s probably why RSVP’s 62 volunteers have a spring in their step. They apply their skills with love, whether they’re staffing the helpline, serving on the board, making arts and crafts, raising funds, doing IT and admin, overseeing the website and social media or offering counselling to clients.

    They know that if you want to be happy for a day, buy a Porsche. But if you want to be happy for a lifetime, volunteer.

    Mel Whyatt, RSVP Counselling Volunteer
    Posted 16 June 2015

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