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#16Days- “Reflection and Growth” – Jan’s ISVA Blog

Hi, my name is Jan and I am the ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advisor) lead at ARCH North East. I have been a part of Arch for 16 years and became an ISVA in 2005. I was proud to be one of the first ISVAs in the country following a successful Home Office pilot.

I have played and been a part of the growth of Arch over the years, especially within the ISVA service where I supported the developing and delivering of the service. I have implemented and managed change over the years within the ISVA service to move with the times to help maintain the standard & quality of the service

I manage a team of nine amazing ISVAs who are specially trained support workers who are committed and passionate on advocating on behalf of people who are thinking of reporting or have reported their abuse to the police. When the ISVA service was originally set up at Arch I don’t think anyone would have imagined how great the need would be for this service. Currently the team are working/supporting 320 clients.

There are never two days the same working at Arch. It can be quite challenging at times, but the rewards are many. Supporting our clients through such a traumatic time and seeing them through a roller coaster of emotions during their journey inspires myself and the team on how courageous our clients are, they are very strong and remarkable individuals.

Within the ISVA team we also have two brilliant Life Enhancement Skills Advisors (LESA) who work as part of the advocacy team to support clients with practical issues such as housing, benefits, and return to work or education. We know how the impact of sexual abuse can sometimes affect all aspects of daily life and it is so important that we provide a holistic approach by offering emotional and practical support to each individual.

We are always trying to improve the service for our clients, with this in mind I set up a Court group a couple of years ago, so that ISVA’s could have the opportunity to feedback their client’s experience of going through the criminal justice system and making sure that their voice is heard. We know that going to court can be scary and a stressful situation. This group looks at what worked well for the clients and what might be improved at court in the future.

After 16 years of working at Arch everyone just sees me as part of the fixtures and fittings now. I feel really privileged to have been part of this fantastic organisation that has worked with and supported so many people over the years.

Some client feedback comments

Arch was very good with helping me understand that I wasn’t a victim, but I was a survivor.’

Thanks very much for all the support, support at court was brilliant, without you I definitely wouldn’t have gone through with it.

Arch has been a big help to me, I would recommend them to anyone who has been in the same position or similar to me, they have provided me with so much support, give me confidence and made me feel better. I can’t thank them enough.