IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advocate)
Our IDVAs are Independent Domestic Violence Advocates, who will support you if you are in immediate crisis or need safety advice. They will focus on reducing your risk and provide legal advice and advocacy on a range of issues within family and criminal law. This can include advice on injunctions, children’s matters, divorce, and liaising with the police. We can also support you at criminal court if you have to give evidence at a trial.
Our IDVAs will offer short or long-term support depending on your needs and can help you to access other helpful services.
24 Hour Helpline
0113 246 0401
Accessing our support and next steps
An IDVA will make contact within 48 hours of receiving the referral. They will contact you to introduce themselves, explain the service, and address any immediate safety interventions. The first contact will take some time so that the IDVA can understand the history, risk and client’s support needs.
After an initial chat to find out your needs, further contact beyond this depends on the right next steps for you and the support you need. The IDVA will discuss all of this with you and can work with you on what future support can look like.
If you have a criminal court case, regardless of the risk level, the IDVA will work with you until the conclusion of the case and keep you informed every step of the way. Otherwise, IDVAs provide practical assistance at the point of crisis so as risk reduces, they will talk to you about alternative avenues for ongoing support.
What does the kind of help I will get look like?
Generally the IDVA team deal with cases where there is a criminal matter that has been reported to the Police. They may talk to you about things like assistance with emergency injunctions, advice around civil orders and completing safety planning, or a home security referral. You will be offered a safety alarm by post too.
The IDVA can also talk you through the Police and/or court process so that you are clear about the system, the likely timescales and additional safety matters, like bail conditions, requesting Restraining Orders, linking in with other agencies e.g. prison, probation, for essential safety planning info. If a suspect has been charged with an offence, the IDVA will be able to talk you through the court process, explain what happens at each hearing, the safety measures that can be put in place if you attend court, and what happens in the event of guilty / not guilty pleas. IDVAs may also be able to come with you at trial.
The IDVA will track and inform you of updates from the Police and Courts on set dates (e.g. court listings and bail return dates). If there are long adjournments / bail dates in a case, the IDVA will link in with you around every three weeks to offer support and then arrange to call back again in accordance with the timeline / next important dates on a case.
In their support for you, the IDVA will complete a DASH risk assessment and create an individually tailored safety and support plan that will be reviewed over time. They will also complete a POWER form with you, which is a tool that looks at your feelings around confidence, safety and managing your problems. These forms will help to create a plan between you and your IDVA for the work you want to do together and the support you need. These plans can change to suit your needs and experiences and the IDVA will review this with you throughout your time working with them.
Who will I work with? Will anyone else know / be informed that I am working with this service?
An allocated IDVA (from an all female team) will be with you for the course of your support. If ever your IDVA is on leave, another member of the team will pick up your case.
We work with other agencies under the MARAC arrangements, meaning some other professionals and organisations may know some details of your case. You can give your consent for us to share with other services or support workers if you would like us to do this on a need to know basis. We will only ever share your information with your consent and with professionals on a strictly confidential basis.
How long will the support last for?
It depends. If you have a criminal court case, regardless of the risk level, the IDVA will work with you until the conclusion of the case and keep you informed every step of the way.
Otherwise, your IDVA will review your risk level as support progresses. The IDVAs provide practical assistance at the point of crisis and as risk reduces, they’ll chat with you about alternative avenues for ongoing support.
How we can help
Click here to find out more about the different kinds of support Leeds Domestic Violence Service provides.