Meet Mark – LGBT ISVA
The ISVA team with their award, I knew I was being trained by the best, but now it’s official!
My name is Mark and I am a new member of the ISVA team here at the Rape and Sexual Violence Project. I started working for RSVP at the beginning of August and thought I’d share with you how my first few months have been as well as some information on how I and other members of our team may be able to help you.
Since starting this role I have had a lot of new experiences, met a diverse range of people and been able to attend some excellent training, including the Lime Culture ISVA Development Programme provided by the UK’s leading sexual violence training company. All of the team have been so supportive and welcoming and I feel so happy working for an excellent organisation. This was particularly celebrated when the ISVA team were presented with the Exceptional ISVA Team award at Lime Culture’s Limelight Awards. I knew I was being supported and trained by the best, but it is now official!
So why did I decide to join the team as a specialist ISVA to support the LGBT community? Well I have worked in sexual health for the last ten years and much of my experience has been supporting the LGBT community. I am also a member of the community myself and felt I had a wealth of experience that I can offer to further help and support people. As an LGBT Independent Sexual Violence Advocate I can provide practical and emotional support to anyone who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans*who has experienced sexual abuse or violence.
Anyone can be affected by sexual violence and our great team of ISVA’s can all offer support. However, there are times that someone may feel that they need some specialist support. I hope that myself, and my colleague Bev – the other LGBT ISVA at RSVP – can be there to offer that specific help.
So why do we have LGBT specific services? Well unfortunately hate crime against the LGBT community continues to remain prevalent in the UK and that includes instances of sexual assault. Stonewall report that:
“One in six lesbian, gay and bi people have experienced a homophobic or biphobic hate crime or incident over the last three years and that 38 per cent of trans people have experienced physical intimidation and threats” (http://www.stonewall.org.uk/media/lgbt-facts-and-figures)
And the Homophobic Hate Crime Report 2013 noted that of these high statistics:
“One in eight victims experienced unwanted sexual contact.” (http://www.stonewall.org.uk/sites/default/files/Homophobic_Hate_Crime__2013_.pdf)
What is worrying is that “two-thirds of those experiencing a hate crime or incident did not report it to anyone” (http://www.stonewall.org.uk/media/lgbt-facts-and-figures)
ISVAs can provide support in a number of ways that can assist anyone who has experienced sexual abuse or violence including:
• Talking you through your options
• Ensuring you can access the services and support you need
• Offering emotional and practical support
• Enabling you to report to the police if you decide to
* Exploring other ways you can pass on information about the trauma you have experienced (e.g. anonymously through the Sexual Assault Referral Centre – SARC)
• Ensuring your well-being, by chaperoning you on health appointments, including sexual health screenings
If you feel that any of these services may be useful for you, you can contact an LGBT ISVA by calling 0121 643 0301 option 2 or directly on 07983 555598 (Mark) or 07535172052 (Bev)