I became an ISVA to help survivors to have their say, and get the help and support to overcome the impact of sexual abuse, and not face prejudice or mistreatment. As a member of the LGBT community myself and as a professional, I have a wealth of knowledge and experience of the impact and trauma of any sexual abuse on LGBT people. I am passionate about developing and providing this much needed service.
WHAT IS AN LGBT ISVA?
If you are lesbian, gay, bi, trans* and have ever experienced rape, sexual assault or sexual abuse at any point in your life the Rape and Sexual Violence Project (RSVP) now can offer you our specialist LGBT ISVA services within the Birmingham LGBT community. (*Including but not exclusive list- non binary, non cis, gender queer, MSM, androgynous, intersex, pansexual…)
An ISVA will offer a caring and professional service providing practical advice and emotional support to those who have been directly impacted by rape, sexual assault or sexual abuse. The abuse could be recent, in the past or ongoing.
Rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse are experienced by a significant percentage of the population and are prevalent in the LGBT community too. Sexual abuse of any nature is a very hidden problem and can be an extremely difficult issue to talk about. The LGBT community often are overlooked or misunderstood and can face prejudice and extra fears around speaking to professionals and organisations when seeking help and support. Rape and abuse against LGBT people can occur in relationships, they can occur as homophobic hate-crimes, childhood sexual abuse and as sexual harassment. Research suggests that the LGBT community experiences disproportionate level of sexual violence.
Support is available; we are here to offer you an advocacy service delivered with compassion, professionalism and humanity. We want to make a difference to you and help overcome the barriers that prevent sexual abuse survivors who identify as LGBT from getting the help and support they need.
Our service is free and is inclusive of all sexuality and gender identities. Everyone is treated fairly, equally and with value and respect. We embrace diversity, promoting equality and human rights for all. We are passionate about helping survivors to thrive and are a user lead service. We are here for you, and so will tailor the support to your individual needs. We understand you may feel nervous getting in touch and it takes a lot of courage to take that step. We will support you every step of the way.
How can we help?
• 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 wellbeing, by chaperoning you on health appointments, including sexual health screenings
What is sexual violence?
The term sexual violence is used as a broad term for all forms of rape and sexual abuse. Rape and sexual abuse might involve physical violence, coercion, threats and control.
Often rape and sexual abuse is committed by people you know, such as partners, friends, family, acquaintances, and people in positions of trust. You may feel love for the person who has abused/is abusing you. You may be befriended and offered things in return for sexual acts, you could have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol to such an extent you couldn’t consent. You may feel coerced or pressured into doing sexual things you don’t want to. You may be pressured/ forced into sexual acts with other people.
Abusers can seem very charming and well liked, they will gain your trust and those around you. You may think people won’t believe you, we will. You may be terrified and living in fear, we can help.
If you are being forced, pressured or coerced into sexual activities, you can contact us. You don’t have to suffer in silence or cope alone – we’re here for you.
To contact the LGBT ISVA service speak to Bev via:
Tel: 0121 643 0301 option 2
Mob: 07535 172 052
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, Natalie Harris about our work at the Abuse Survivors Clinic.
Hi, my name is Natalie and I am a ‘newbie’ ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advocate) here at RSVP. Having previously worked in the field of addiction, supporting and empowering people is what I enjoy most, which reinforces that my day to day role is more than just a job.
The role of ISVA is so broad and varied that it is not the easiest to define. In a nutshell, we support and advocate for clients/service users that are survivors of sexual violence. This entails support throughout the legal process, identifying, signposting and/or supporting practically with unmet needs and providing emotional support.
I see my role as walking by the side of the client and supporting with each step they take on their journey.
In order to continue to strive towards the delivery of a seamless service for our clients, we have recently embarked upon a fresh working partnership with Umbrella sexual health services. One of the latest projects is the ASC (Abuse Survivors Clinic) clinic. This clinic operates 2-3 times per month on a Wednesday at Whittall Street Clinic, Whittall Street, Birmingham, B4 6DH and is available for survivors of abuse, providing specialised, sensitive support around sexual health screenings. In addition, clients have the opportunity to explore support options available with an ISVA from RSVP who will be present at every ASC.
The schedule for this clinic is as follows:
8th June 2016
22nd June 2016
6th July 2016
20th July 2016
3rd August 2016
17th August 2016
31st August 2016
14th September 2016
28th September 2016
12th October 2016
26th October 2016
9th November 2016
23rd November 2016
7th December 2016
To access the clinic please contact: 0121 237 5700