A women speaking to a group of people

Foundation: Independent domestic violence advisor (Idva) training

Our foundation Independent domestic violence advisor (Idva) training enhances practical knowledge of domestic violence, helping you provide the best possible support for domestic abuse victims, survivors and their children

Key course features

Our Idva Foundation course aims to support you with the following content topics:

  • Helping victims and their children feel safer through the provision of a quality Idva response.
  • Develop your confidence and skills through group work, coaching and one-to-one feedback sessions
  • Share experience and best practice with other Idva learners while engaging in reflective practice
  • Improve practice within your service
  • Advocate for domestic abuse victims, survivors, and their children in multi-agency settings 

Course overview 

The Idva Foundation 12 day course is aimed at Idva practitioners, domestic abuse practitioners and service managers who currently carry an active caseload of domestic abuse victims or are about to start doing so. The training can also be a great opportunity for non-DA professionals to gain CPD around the risks specifically around young people’s experiences of domestic abuse. SafeLives does however recommend that you have a strong knowledge of domestic abuse case management.

Successful completion of this accredited course will give you an OCNLR Level 3 certificate in Domestic Abuse: Prevention and Intervention. 

The training is supported by relevant specialists from many different fields, including the criminal justice system, family law, child protection, sexual assault referral centres (Sarcs) and housing services. The training also includes modules on Multi-agency risk assessment conferences (Marac), anti-racist practice, and working with minoritised groups experiencing domestic abuse or harmful practices. The content is designed to give learners the depth and breadth of understanding needed to support domestic abuse victims, survivors and their children in a multi-agency context from a whole family perspective. 

  • 98%

    of learners told us they felt more confident in their role after receiving our Idva training.

The course aims to enhance your practical knowledge, helping you provide the best possible support for all victims of domestic abuse and their children, specialising in high risk. Topics covered in the course includes:

  • Prosocial modelling, vicarious trauma and advocacy core skills
  • Using the Dash Risk Assessment and effective safety planning
  • Anti-racist practice
  • Harmful practices
  • LGBTQ+
  • Civil law including non-molestation options
  • Criminal justice system
  • Housing law and options
  • Mental health

If you have already completed the Idva Foundation Training, check out our Idva Specialist Training

Idva specialist training

We are delighted to announce that, following an open competition, we have been awarded funding from the Ministry of Justice, under the Independent sexual violence advisors (Isva) and Independent domestic violence advisors (Idva) Training and Infrastructure Fund.

With this provision, we are now able to offer the Spring 2024 courses at a reduced cost – please see new costing below.

Engaging with knowledgeable trainers and guest speakers. There have been a wide variety of resources shared which we can take back, share with colleagues and put into practice. Lots of books and programmes, podcasts recommended to further our learning.

Previous learner

Applications for our Autumn 2024 Idva Foundation course open now

For our ‘Autumn 2024’ courses, we will be opening one application form and you will be asked to select a specific course. As such, please only apply for courses, dates and locations that are suitable for you. Due to the large number of applications that we receive, we hope that this revised process will help to ensure we can offer a place that will suit you best.

IDV24P - Online (Zoom)

Block 1: 26th – 28th November 2024
Block 2: 14th – 16th January 2025
Block 3: 25th – 27th February 2025
Block 4: 1st – 3rd April 2025

IDV24Q - Online

Block 1: 3rd – 5th December 2024
Block 2: 21st – 23rd January 2025
Block 3: 4th – 6th March 2025
Block 4: 15th – 17th April 2025

IDV24W2 - Wales Idva Foundation

Please note this course is for Welsh based practioners

Time commitment

The Idva Foundation course comprises 12 days (in-room, online, or hybrid) training, delivered in four blocks; e-learning modules which must be completed prior to attending each block of training; and the completion of four assessed worksheets that are submitted online.

The first eight days of all our foundation courses cover what we consider the core essentials for anyone working with victims of domestic abuse. The final four days focus on the specialist subject. You must attend all 12 days.

The list below provides guidance on recommended study time you should allow:

  • Guided learning (training blocks, pre-course reading and e-learning modules) – 120 hours
  • Worksheets – 50 hours
  • Notional study – 130 hours
  • Total course time requirement – 300 hours


Our Idva Foundation course is available to practitioners who meet the following eligibility criteria:

  1. Anyone with a current active caseload of adults in the community. This is to ensure that you have a varied range of case examples for your worksheets.
  2. A line manager or equivalent role within an appropriate organisation, who can vouch for you for the entire time you are on the course and completing the worksheets.

To promote diversity and widen our learners’ network, we will limit the number of successful applicants from the same organisation admitted to one course to two spaces. Please consider this before you apply to avoid any disappointment.

There were lots of learning points including understanding the typologies of domestic abuse. This will allow me to relate this to practice and understand the typology in abusive relationships.

Previous learner


£2,082.50 per learner. This training is tax exempt.

For practitioners based in Wales, please refer to our Wales: Idva Foundation training which is fully-funded.

Wales: Idva Foundation training


The reduced fee spaces are allocated by random selection from the pool of successful applicants who qualify. Please ensure that you complete the application as fully as possible as the answers provided on the application will be used to determine eligible learners. 

Thanks to the additional funding from Ministry of Justice our subsidised spaces are offered at an even lower rate currently.  

  • Subsidised space £200 (previously £2000) - Learners from registered charities with an annual income of less than £1million. 
  • Super subsidised space £100 (previously £1000) - Learners from registered charities with an annual income of less than £500,000. 

How to apply

Applications for the Idva Foundation Autumn 2024 course are open now. You can apply via the link above.

Additional information about the application process can be found in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).


We welcome learners of all backgrounds and abilities. We encourage you to share with us any details on accessibility and diversity needs so we can ensure the right support is in place. You can also contact us if you have any queries via training@safelives.org.uk.

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