Frequently asked questions

Applying for the course


Is there a Home Office bursary for Idva foundation training?

Unfortunately there is no longer a Home Office bursary available for our Idva foundation training. However we have been working hard to find ways of making the prices more affordable for you. We have not only kept our prices at the same level for a number of years we've also secured some additional funding so we can offer a number of subsidies for SafeLives training.

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What is the time commitment?

Foundation level

The course comprises 12 days in-room 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 list below provides guidance on recommended study time you should allow:

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

*Notional study relates to time spent reading manuals, considering further research (such as reading reports and government guidance) and generally reflecting on what you have learnt in the training room. You may wish to do this in your own time, or you may prefer to discuss having extra time supported by your manager.

Expert level

The course will take place over four days. Learners will also be expected to undertake approximately 55 hours of self-study including preparation for classes, reading and assignment completion.

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What accreditation level is the course?

The course is mapped to National Occupation Standards for the domestic abuse sector and is accredited by the Open College Network London Region (OCNLR) at Level 3, which is broadly equivalent to NVQ3 and A level, and provides 27 credits in total. OCN allocates credit values per topic and awards you credits on successful completion of individual units.

To achieve OCN accreditation you must have attended the full course and completed all units to the required standard.

In order for SafeLives to be able to offer OCN London accreditation, our training practices and procedures have been reviewed and approved in accordance with OCN London’s accreditation framework. 

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How is the foundation course assessed?

In order to establish that you have reached the required level of understanding for each topic, your work is assessed and moderated by both an internal and external moderator. The assessment consists of four worksheets and five e-learning modules which are completed via the SafeLives online learner centre.  If there are circumstances which make it difficult for you to meet a deadline, you will be able to contact the lead trainer or training co-ordinator to discuss this. Extensions are considered on a case by case basis.

In order to complete your assignments you will also need to do the following at some point during the training (some of these you may be doing anyway as part of your role):
Assignment Completed before
Visit your local sexual assault referral centre (Sarc) and ask what other services are available to victims of sexual violence in your area Block 3
Review at least 3 of your own case files using our case review system Block 2
Observe a Marac or similar local domestic abuse risk management process Block 2
Contact your local Cafcass officer about your local procedures Block 2
Reflect on a case management supervision session Worksheet 2
Observe at least two cases in a Magistrate’s Court (ideally but not essentially domestic violence related) Block 3
Sit in on a Crown Court trial (ideally but not essentially domestic violence related) Block 3
Contact your local Crown Prosecution Service Violence Against Women and Girls (Vawg) coordinator about your local procedures Block 3
Visit your local county court and ask about the process for applying for an injunction Block 3













We also ask that you complete a reflective log for the period of the training. This will take conscious effort, and can feel uncomfortable at times. However, this process promotes the development of personal and professional insight and learning, which in turn enables us to improve our knowledge, skills and practice. This log is for your own development and you will not be required to submit it in its entirety, however, at times during your worksheets you will be asked to submit sections relevant to one of the actions required above.

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What are the training requirements?

To ensure you get the most from your training, we ask that all applicants:

  • Attend all 12 days of the training
  • Understand, speak and write good English in order to understand the training materials and be able to fully participate in classroom exercises and complete assessments
  • Complete all compulsory assessment exercises within the timescales agreed
  • Use IT skills and have access to a current version of Microsoft Word, Excel and the internet (to access the SafeLives online learner centre, submit assessment worksheets and receive email communications)
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Why do I have to complete a foundation course before I can be accepted on an expert course?

Our expert level courses are designed for learners who have already attended foundation training in one subject and want to top up their knowledge by attending a shorter (four day) course in a different field. For this reason we only accept individuals at expert level who have completed a foundation course with SafeLives with the exception of the expert course Responding to victims of sexual violence where we ask that learners are already working with victims of sexual violence and hold a caseload. 


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Do I need to book accommodation?

As this is not a residential course we advise all learners who cannot travel to the training on a daily basis to book accommodation suitable to their needs. You will need to arrange this yourself as the cost of the course does not include overnight accommodation.

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Who can apply?

SafeLives training for Idvas and frontline professionals is designed for those who are:

  • currently working (or about to start work) as an Idva or domestic violence practitioner
  • frontline professionals who work with victims of domestic abuse
  • managers of domestic abuse services with a caseload
  • professionals working with young people who may be affected by domestic abuse 
  • professionals responsible for improving the local response for victims

It is suitable for both experienced practitioners and those who are new to the role. All learners should have a basic understanding of the dynamics of domestic abuse before attending the course. Pre-course reading material is made available to all successful applicants.

If you have any questions regarding your eligibility for our training please contact SafeLives at training@safelives.org.uk

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