7.6 Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs)
Nationally Accepted Definition of IDVA Service
The main purpose of independent domestic violence advisors (IDVA) is to address the safety of victims at high risk of harm from intimate partners, ex-partners or family members to secure their safety and the safety of their children. Serving as a victim’s primary point of contact, IDVAs normally work with their clients from the point of crisis to assess the level of risk. They also discuss the range of suitable options leading to the creation of a workable safety plan.
They are proactive in implementing the plans, which address immediate safety, including practical steps to protect victims and their children, as well as longer-term solutions. These plans will include actions from the Multi-agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) as well as sanctions and remedies available through other organisations. IDVAs support and work over the short to medium term to put victims on the path to long term safety. IDVAs receive specialist accredited training and hold a nationally recognised qualification.
Since they work with the highest risk cases, IDVAs are most effective as part of an IDVA service and within a multi-agency framework. The IDVA’s role in all multi-agency settings is to keep the client’s perspective and safety at the centre of proceedings.
Studies have shown that when high risk clients engage with an IDVA, there are clear and measurable improvements in safety, including a reduction in the escalation and severity of abuse and a reduction or even cessation in repeat incidents of abuse.
Please also see section 6.1 which refers to MARACs.