Independent Advocacy

Refuge’s independent advocates support survivors of all forms of gender-based violence, including those at highest risk of serious harm or homicide. Independent advocates give a voice to those who feel voiceless, enabling victims of violence to pursue justice and put the building blocks in place to begin a new life, free from fear.

Refuge provides independent domestic, sexual and gender-based violence advocates for women, men and young people – these are known as IDVAs, ISVAs and IGVAs.

Independent advocates also play a crucial role in the community. They provide essential training to key agencies such as the police and the Crown Prosecution Service, which greatly improves the way they respond to cases of domestic violence.

What can an independent advocate help with?

  • Creating safety plans and undertaking risk assessments
  • Accompanying clients to court or arranging pre-trial visits
  • Supporting clients to give evidence and write victim impact statements
  • Requesting special measures in court including, for example, screens in court to conceal survivors so they don’t have to face their abuser
  • Access to refuge accommodation
  • Improving security in their property so that they can continue to live safely at home
  • Providing emotional support and referring victims to counselling or mental health services
  • Liaising with social workers on child protection issues

An IDVA’s role often begins at the point of crisis for a victim – for example, just after a police call-out, or when a woman goes to hospital for medical help after a violent attack.

Additional needs catered for:
Who can refer: Professional referrals only