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

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 


Applications for Spring 2024 courses are now open until 12pm on 18th December

Please see application links below

For future course dates please register your interest here

Spring 2024 Course Dates

For Spring 2024, we will be running 2 courses, one delivered online via Zoom and the other in-person in Bristol. Please only apply for a course if the dates and location are suitable for you. 

Course Code: RSV24A  - Apply Here
Delivery: Online via Zoom
Time: 09:30 – 16:30 (Daily)    

  • Day 1: 12th March 
  • Day 2: 13th March 
  • Day 3: 14th March
  • Day 4: 15th March 

Learners must attend all 4 days of training.  


Course Code: RSV24B - Apply Here
Delivery:  In-person - Bristol
Venue: SafeLives Head Office. Suite 2a. Whitefriars. Lewins Mead. Bristol BS1 2NT          
Time: 09:30 – 16:30 (Daily)    

  • Day 1: 23rd April  
  • Day 2: 24th April 
  • Day 3: 25th April 
  • Day 4: 26th April 

Learners must attend all 4 days of 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.

Course Details

Price: £718.25*

*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 (£60 per learner) and less than £500,000 (£35 per learner). We use information on the application form to determine who to award the subsidised spaces to.

Format:  The course comprises of 4 days online.

Assessment: 1 Worksheet

Time Committment: 55 hours*

*The course comprises 4 days of online training 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 RVSV Specialist Course 

SafeLives is an equal opportunity training provider that is committed to diversity and inclusion. If you need any adaptations or support to complete an application form please email training@safelives.org.uk or call 0117 403 3224.


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

I learned so much about sexual abuse and the CPS process which was so helpful to know and see also from a police perspective as well as an ISVA's.

Being in the room was brilliant, gave us a chance to network and learn from each other

Find out more