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.