Responding to victims of sexual violence

Build your skills, knowledge and confidence. Improve your professional response and make victims of sexual violence safer.

The course is vital for anyone dealing with victims of sexual abuse or violence

About the course

We know from evidence gained through our SafeLives Insights service - and from talking to many of you - that practitioners often feel they lack the confidence needed to ask their clients about sexual violence. This course is designed to address that issue and the feedback we received on our last training suggests it works. In fact over 87% of responses to the question, 'Do you feel confident in your ability to carry out your role as an Idva?', stated 'very', or 'extremely', at the end of the training, compared to just 13% of responses before the training.

This course will build your skills, knowledge and confidence, improve your professional response and make victims of sexual violence safer. As part of the training you will be given the opportunity to explore the workings of a SARC, the services and support they can offer. Plus, follow a case study through the criminal justice process from police investigation to court, with support from an expert police speaker.

This course has been developed in conjunction with Ynys Saff Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Cardiff and approved by the Home Office.

This course is one of our Specialist level courses. It is typically designed for learners who have already qualified as an Idva (or equivalent role) or Young people's advisor and want to top up their knowledge by attending a shorter (four day) course in a new subject. However, for this course we also accept applications from practitioners who are already working with victims of sexual violence and who hold a caseload.

Please note that this course is tailored to practitioners in England and Wales. If you are living in Scotland, please get in touch with our team via email: scotland@safelives.org.uk


Responding to Sexual Violence Specialist course 2021 

Applications now closed: please register your interest and we'll keep you updated when the next cohort is confirmed. 

Timings and Dates*:


Tuesday 23rd November 2021

Wednesday 24th November 2021

Thursday 25th November 2021

Friday 26th November 2021

*You must attend all 4 sessions. 

Price: £795 *

* Subsidies:  We are committed to supporting smaller and specialist services to access our courses. To help facilitate this, we offer a fixed number of subsidies (on two tiers) for services with an annual income of less than £1 million (£550 per learner) and less than £500,000 (£300 per learner).We use information on the application form to determine who to award the subsidised spaces to.

Format:  The course comprises 4 session in-room (currently virtual) training.

Assessment: 1 Worksheet

Time Committment: 55 hours*

*The course comprises 4 days in-room (currently virtual) training, delivered in 2 blocks; and the completion of an assessed worksheet that is submitted online.

To be classed as a qualified ISVA you must have completed the IDVA Foundation and the RSV Specialist Course 


In response to the latest Covid-19 situation and the government announcement asking people to work from home if they can, we have taken the decision to switch all our open course from face to face to online delivery for the next six months.

Those online training will run via the Zoom platform and we will send you the joining instructions 1 week before each block starts, along with any pre-reading and reference materials you need. We have specially adapted our training material to this online format, ensuring that you will receive all necessary content required to support your work as a Domestic Abuse practitioner and to allow you to evidence your learning by completing your worksheets. Sessions will run from 10am-4pm daily with a 1 hour lunch break. Your lead trainer will be available for contact with questions and queries between 9am and 5pm on all four of the training days.

As part of the specialist training you can expect

  • The short and long term effects of sexual violence and abuse, including the impact of adverse childhood experiences, mental health and responses to trauma
  • Key skills and approaches for working with victims and survivors of sexual violence and abuse
  • Relevant legislation and how to apply it in practice
  • Explore the workings of a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) and the services and support they offer
  • Follow a case study through the criminal justice process from police investigation to court, with support from a police trainer 

A few words from our trainer

Learn how to respond to a disclosure of sexual violenceIn this short video Isva and former manager of Ynys Saff (Cardiff Sarc) discusses how this course helps practitioners feel more confident in responding to a disclosure of sexual violence.

Learner feedback

Informative, interesting. Will significantly improve my response to clients 

I feel confident after this training that I can apply the knowledge in my everyday work

Find out more