RSV Specialist: Responding to victims of sexual violence

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

Successful completion of this accredited course and the Idva Foundation course will give you the title of OCN Qualified Isva. 

Applications for Autumn 2024 are now open - please see below

Key course features 

Why choose SafeLives RSV Specialist course: 

  • Client centred approach, following the journey of four case studies: Derek, Jordan, Deborah, Alara who have all been a victim of sexual violence.  

  • You will learn how differing intersectionality’s impact their unique risks and support options. 

  • You will learn what evidence could be used to prosecute the different perpetrators and how in your role you can best work with police specialist teams.  

  • The course was originally co-created with Ynys Saff Sarc, Cardiff and is approved by the Home Office. The course has recently been updated to give a more detailed perspective from the criminal justice system, which is delivered by a guest speaker.  

  • Trainers with vast and current experience in providing frontline delivery to victims of sexual abuse. 

  • All of our trainers and speakers are regularly quality assured to ensure we are providing the highest quality. 

  • Course content is reviewed by SafeLives authentic voice to ensure the content is relevant to real life experiences, and reviewed to keep up to date with recent research and legislative changes. 


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. 


Course overview

SafeLives Responding to Sexual Violence (RSV) Specialist 4 day course is made up of 4 days specialist Independent Sexual Violence Advocate (Isva) content focusing on supporting victims of sexual abuse. The course aims to enhance your practical knowledge to best support people who are victims of sexual 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 Isva.  

4 days specialist RSV content 

This ensures professionals are able to respond to victims of sexual abuse, understanding the process through the criminal justice system, case management and managing first disclosures. 

Topics include: 

  • Current legislation for consent and sexual offences under Sexual Offences Act, Domestic Abuse Act and Online Safety Act.  

  • Prevalence, impact of sexual violence and trauma responses.  

  • Practical strategies to promote disclosure of sexual violence and guidance on how to respond. 

  • Criminal justice process from reporting to police, CPS decision making and attending court.  

  • Insight into police investigation and interview strategies. 

  • Needs assessments for ISVAs, practical and emotional safety planning. 

  • Details of sexual health provision and Sarc  

  • Advocacy and challenging rape myths with clients and other professionals.  

The RSV Specialist 4 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; and have completed another SafeLives Foundation course to gain the Isva qualification. 

The training can also be a great opportunity for non-DA professionals to gain CPD around the impact of sexual violence and responding to their needs. SafeLives does however recommend you have a strong knowledge of domestic and/or sexual abuse case management.  

 Please note – the course is tailored to practitioners working in England and Wales due to legislative variations.


Applications for Autumn 2024 are now open

Click here to submit your application

For future course dates please register your interest here

Course Details

Course Code: RSV24C

Delivery: Online via Zoom   

Time: 09:30 – 16:30 (Daily) 

Day 1: 22nd Oct 2024

Day 2: 23rd Oct 2024

Day 3: 24th Oct 2024

Day 4: 24th Oct 2024

Learners must attend all 4 days of training.  


Thanks to successful funding from Ministry of Justice SafeLives is able to offer specialist course at a reduced rate for all at £718.25 per person. Previously charged at £845 per person. 


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. 


Our RSV 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. 

  1. 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. 

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

Time Commitment  

The RSV 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


We aim to provide inclusive training and will make reasonable adjustments to ensure that our training can be accessed by all. Please let us know whether you have any accessibility or diversity needs so we can out the right support in place. 

We are always seeking to improve our accessibility and work with learners to ensure we adapt our resources and training provision to be accommodating and provide the support needed. Reasonable adjustments can be made for both on-line and in  person training. 

In the last year we have been working with Sign Health and Vision Foundation to successfully improve accessibility for learners with a hearing loss or visual impairment. 

We welcome all applicants to work with us to improve our services and increase our reach. 


Please contact the training team at training@safelives.org.uk if you have any questions you wish to discuss with the team.  

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