The Survivors Trust is one of only a few organisations in the UK that provides an accredited diploma qualification for Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs). We contributed to the Home Office's development of National Occupational Standards for the ISVA role last year and have trained around 200 individuals since 2010.

ISVAs provide emotional support and guidance for anyone that has experienced sexual violence at any point in their lives. ISVAs are trained to look after the needs of their clients, and to ensure that they receive care and understanding. They help victim-survivors to understand how the criminal justice process works, and explain things  such as what will happen if they report to the police, and the importance and process of forensic DNA retrieval. ISVAs are there to provide clients with the information they need to make the right decision for them. They do not pressure clients into reporting any offence to the police.They are a figure of trust, empathy and respect.

Our training focuses on a survivor focused ethos, meaning that we train our ISVAs to have their clients needs at the centre of all of their work.

Our Course

The aims of the ISVA Practitioner Programme are:

  1. To provide high quality training specific to the role of ISVA working with rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse and childhood sexual abuse;
  2. To equip ISVA practitioners with the information and skills they need to work effectively for and on behalf of their clients and to provide a clear understanding of the role of an ISVA including awareness of criminal justice processes, partnership working and inter-agency work on sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse;
  3. To promote and work on the principle that this Programme is recognised nationally for practice for working with sexual violence and abuse issues;
  4. To ensure all victims of sexual crime gain appropriate care and provision to help towards the recovery process.


2020/21 Course Dates (AVAILABLE)

Session 1

Foundation Skills and Knowledge for ISVAs

 11th & 12th NOV 2020

Session 2

Planning and Protection

 9TH & 10TH DEC 2020

Session 3

Effective Partnerships

 20TH & 21ST JAN 2021

Session 4

Communication, Diversity and Equality

 24TH & 25TH FEB 2021

Session 5

ISVAs in Action – Court and Beyond

 24TH & 25TH MAR 2021

Qualification Gained

The Survivors Trust ISVA Practitioner Training Programme has been specifically designed to provide key learning outcomes and course material to ensure participants are equipped to meet the requirements, demands and challenges of delivering effective ISVA practice and provision for working with victims and survivors of all forms of sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse.

Participants will benefit from a range of learning opportunities, including use of case studies, presentations, group discussions, observation, reflective logs, written and practical assessment. 

External presentations are an important feature of the course ensuring additional expert input in key areas of the training programme, including child protection and the law.

Participants will gain an accredited diploma qualification at Level 4 (equivalent to A/S, A2, Access, GNVQ Advanced) with the Open College Network representing 175 hours of learning. 

Entry Requirements

Participation in this course will involve use of IT and internet systems, including Word, Excel and Internet Explorer. If this will pose any difficulties, please contact us to discuss.

For students in employment, acceptance on the ISVA Training Programme is conditional upon participants being supported to attend the course by the organisation they are employed by. If the course is oversubscribed, preference will be given to applicants from The Survivors Trust member organisations who are currently working as ISVAs. The Survivors Trust reserves the right to allocate places.

We also welcome independent students who are not currently employed in the Sexual Violence sector onto the course. We ask that these students speak with our Training & Development Manager before applying.

Format of Course

The ISVA Training Programme will run over 10 days, divided into five, 2 day training events. There is a lot of essential material to cover and the course is necessarily intensive to ensure that all aspects are included. However, tutorial support is provided as required. The ISVA Programme Sessions will focus on providing ISVA practitioners with clear knowledge and understanding of the ISVA role and will develop all the skills ISVA practitioners need to meet the demands and challenges of the role.

Training Venue

Training takes place at our offices in Rugby, Warwickshire, which are situated within walking distance of Rugby Train Station and the Town Centre.  Parking is available.

Course Fees         

Course fees include registration fees, accreditation and course materials. Refreshments and lunch are also included in the course fees.

In recognition of the funding pressures experienced within the sector, The Survivors Trust has maintained course fees which represent a generous subsidy against estimated full-cost recovery of £3,000 per student:

The Survivors Trust member organisations    £2,100
Independent Students – not being sponsored    £2,100
Voluntary Sector Organisation     £2,250
Statutory Sector Sexual Violence Service      £2,450


To register please contact:

[email protected]

For more information or to enquire about any aspect of the ISVA Training Programme, please contact Linda Lewis: 07712525475