More than Support to Court: ISVAs and sexual violence services

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Summary

The research was commissioned by the Northern Rock Foundation to fill a gap in knowledge about the involvement of sexual violence services in supporting victims/survivors of rape and sexual abuse in the North East of England, including cases progressing through the criminal justice system. The research built on the previous NRF study ‘From Report to Court – rape cases and the criminal justice system in the North East’ (Hester 2013 & 2015), and also looked at referrals from the police and from the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) to other agencies, interviewed 15 victims/survivors (12 female and three male) about their experience of support, and interviewed 14 practitioners from specialist sexual violence and other relevant services across Teesside. The research was carried out between March 2014 and March 2015 by Prof Marianne Hester and Sarah-Jane Lilley-Walker. It found that for the needs of victims/survivors to be at the centre of service provision, it is crucial to understand the impacts and consequences of sexual violence alongside patterns of help-seeking and engagement with the criminal justice process.  ISVAs and other sexual violence services provided targeted support that could vary depending on the needs of victims/survivors as they moved through different aspects of their journey through the criminal justice system.

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