An older lady looking out of a window.

Specialist: Older person violence advisor (Opva) training

Our Specialist: Older person violence advisor (Opva) training aims to enhance professionals practical knowledge to best support older people who are victims of domestic abuse.

Key course features

Our Specialist Opva training will focus on:

  • The dynamics of older people’s domestic abuse
  • Engaging with older people and what the barriers are to help seeking
  • Improving wellbeing and safety in the relationship / ongoing contact (trauma)
  • Multi agency working and the referrals process
  • The barriers for older people keeping safe

Course overview

SafeLives Opva Specialist 4 day course is made up of specialist content focusing on supporting older victims of domestic abuse. The course aims to enhance your practical knowledge to best support older people who are victims of domestic abuse.

The course is designed as further development following the Foundation Idva course, which covers the core domestic abuse knowledge you would want as an Opva.

This ensures professionals are able to respond to older victims of domestic abuse, understanding the unique risks and reduced options available to safeguard older people and reduce risk.

Topics include:

  • the family and community dynamics that may affect older people experiencing abuse
  • effective risk management and safety planning with older people in a multi-agency context
  • the unique forms of economic abuse that older people can experience
  • identifying and responding to adult safeguarding concerns
  • age-related health issues and their implications for practice
  • how to address barriers to engagement, to build an age-inclusive service.

The Opva Specialist training is supported by relevant specialists from many different fields around adult safeguarding and domestic abuse.

This course is aimed at Opvas, 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; and have completed another SafeLives Foundation course to gain the Opva qualification.

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 you have a strong knowledge of domestic abuse case management.

Please note the course uses the term older people to describe those aged 60 plus.

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.

Available training

Application close 17 July

Specialist Opva Course

Date: 01-04 October 2024

Time Commitment

The Opva Specialist course comprises 4 days online training, delivered in four consecutive days; e-learning modules which must be completed prior to attending each block of training; and the completion of one assessed worksheets that is submitted online.

You must attend all 4 days. 

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

  • Guided learning (training blocks, pre-course reading and e-learning modules) – 40 hours
  • Worksheets – 15 hours
  • Notional study – 40 hours
  • Total course time requirement – 95 hours 


Our Opva Specialist course is available to practitioners who meet the following eligibility criteria:

  1. Anyone with a current, active caseload supporting domestic abuse victims. This is to ensure that you have a variety of cases for practice reflection as part of your assessment.
  2. Has a line manager or equivalent supervisor within an appropriate organisation. They should confirm your application details and support you for the duration of the course and whilst you are completing the worksheets.

To promote diversity and widen our learners’ network, we generally limit the number of successful applicants from the same organisation admitted to one course to two spaces.
For professionals who have not completed the Idva Foundation course, they can complete this as CPD.
SafeLives highly recommends non-DA professionals have a strong knowledge of domestic abuse case management
Please consider this before you apply to avoid any disappointment.


£718.25 per learner


We’re pleased to offer a limited number of subsidised spaces for learners wishing to train with us.

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 spaces £60 (previously £600) - Learners from registered charities with an annual income of less than £1million.
  • Super subsidised spaces £35 (previously £350) - Learners from registered charities with an annual income of less than £500,000.

How to apply

Applications for the Specialist Opva training are now closed.

Register your interest in future training


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

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