Barnardo’s SECOS has two full -time Independent Sexual Violence Advocates (ISVAs.)
It wants to add to hire an additional ISVA in partnership with Teesside Sexual Abuse Referral Centre (SARC.)
Funding will provide emotional and practical support to anyone under 18 who has experienced sexual violence
There are currently 11 children and young people waiting to be allocated an ISVA.
Some assistance has been provided by the ISVA therapeutic worker offering pre-court therapy. However, all children and young people in the criminal justice system have the right to access a specialist child ISVA. This is not currently possible due to an increase in referrals and limits to caseload capacity.
Barnardos believes the introduction of the Police CSE team and specialist online grooming team have highlighted more victims in need of support. This increases the volume of referrals into Barnardos services.
The intensive nature of face-to-face support creates limitations on caseload capacity for a full-time worker. In response to the increase in referrals, there is a need for an additional ISVA to meet the needs of young victims.
The ISVA team works across SECOS, Bridgeway and the SARC. The team ensures all child victims and witnesses of sexual violence have their needs met. In turn, this helps healing and recovery.