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Publication - Professor Marianne Hester

    More than support to court

    Rape victims and specialist sexual violence services


    Hester, M & Walker, S-J, 2018, ‘More than support to court: Rape victims and specialist sexual violence services’. International Review of Victimology, vol 24., pp. 313-328


    This article explores the involvement of specialist sexual violence services, including Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs), in supporting victims/survivors of rape and sexual abuse to engage with the criminal justice system (CJS) in England and Wales. The underpinning research, conducted in one area of England, included referral data from the police and key specialist sexual violence services, interviews with 15 victims/survivors of sexual violence in contact with the police and specialist services, and interviews with 14 practitioners from sexual violence and related services. We examine the complex needs of victims/survivors of sexual violence (who have experienced historical child sexual abuse, acquaintance rape or rape in the context of intimate partner abuse), how their needs differ and vary over time, and the ways in which these diverse and changing needs are met by specialist sexual violence services. Non-specialist agencies, such as statutory mental health services, are unable to provide similarly targeted responses. The research found that specialist sexual violence services play particularly crucial roles through the use of approaches that can be characterised as flexible, enabling, holding and mending. However, this important work could easily be lost in the current climate of local service commissioning, to the great detriment of victims/survivors of sexual violence.

    Full details in the University publications repository