My name is Yasmin, I have been working as an ISVA for over three and a half years, before which I was working for another sexual violence charity.
Working as an ISVA means every day we are faced with different challenges and changes to our schedule. Thus, there is no such thing as a typical day.
We usually see clients and offer them one to one sessions to complete an initial assessment to identify their needs and risks; or we offer ongoing appointments to current clients, but today was a little different.
Today I went to Leeds to attend the Rape Scrutiny Panel at the CPS’ offices. The panel has been set up to allow professionals to consider the falling levels of referrals of rape cases as well as wider issues related to their investigation and prosecution. It is an important step in further improving our response to rape cases and victims. The panel consists of ISVAs from Yorkshire and Humber, Police and CPS staff with the aim to discuss past cases and assess what could have been done differently and give feedback and suggestions on best practice.
After the CPS panel I returned to York and met a client for a pre-trial visit (PTV). This is an informal meeting we offer clients at York Crown Court; an opportunity for them to visit the court building and see the court room while it is empty. Clients can familiarise themselves with the side entry, security checks, waiting room, live link room and ask as many questions as they wish. The visit is aimed at reducing anxieties and empower clients to feel a little more confident on the day of trial.
Following the PTV I returned home (as we are still mainly working from home), from where I completed admin tasks such as submitting counselling referral forms, contacting new referrals, writing letters to GPs or employers, and completing closures.
I then had my last meeting of the day, a zoom call with a young client who is going through the Police process. In today’s session we focused on managing the fear of going to court and building useful tools to deal with stress caused by the upcoming trial.
I then managed to have a catch up with the rest of my team over Teams. We make sure we keep each other updated and check in with each other daily. Peer support is undoubtedly a must in our role. We all come from different backgrounds and bring different skills to the team, but we all share the likelihood to be affected by the nature of the job, thus, we all help each other when some of us has a difficult session or an emotionally taxing day. And I can end my day on a positive note after a healthy chat with my colleagues.