As part of our #16DaysOfAction campaign, where we are providing an insight into our people and our partners who have a role in supporting victims and survivors of domestic abuse.
Today we want to tell you about independent advocates Tina and Andy. Because of they job they do, we can’t show their faces as need to protect their identity from the perpetrators whose victims they support.
Tina is an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) for the Lincolnshire Domestic Abuse Specialist Service.
Tina understands the devastating effects on victims who endure domestic abuse. Tina has supported victims to feel safer, live a life free from domestic abuse, and take steps to recovery.
Tina, along with the rest of the IDVA team, provide a specialist service for men and women, aged 16 and over, who are living in fear.
They can only support you with your consent and will ensure you are offered emotional and practical support. As their title suggests, they are independent from the police.
You may first hear of an IDVA at the point of a serious incident of domestic abuse, where the police have attended, or you attended the A&E for your injuries.
If you are a high-risk victim of domestic abuse IDVAs like Tina can help you access services to keep you and your children safe.
Tina’s role includes advocating for high-risk victims with other agencies who can help to address the domestic abuse. She provides practical and emotional support. She will be your trusted professional at this difficult time in your life.
IDVAs will ensure your voice is heard at multi agency meetings and they will always feedback to you. Your voice is integral to ensuring you get the right response at the right time.
As the Dedicated Court Support IDVA, Andy is here to ensure victims and survivors have the right support needed to proceed through the justice process, advocating on their behalf where possible. The Court IDVA may be co-located within the court building or just spend the majority of their time within the courts.
Dedicated family court IDVAs are essential because they understand the courts, they build up relationships with professionals who work in the courts and they are focused on supporting clients through the whole family court process.
Andy’s job is to make victims of domestic abuse feel safe and confident when navigating the court system.
Andy, and IDVAs like him, will guide you through the process – to keep you as calm as possible; make sure you are prepared for what will happen inside the court and to help you communicate with your solicitor. They understand you may feel so scared you almost go to pieces. They make sure that the legal professional knows everything they need to. Andy says that often, his clients are so overwhelmed.
Andy’s role is also to keep survivors physically safe by constantly risk assessing, to ensure that they are prepared for court and crucially, that they feel heard. IDVAs know that the court process can be long and daunting and their job is to ease this.
Andy keeps victims updated on the court process whilst supporting you to consider special measures and explore civil orders to manage risks. If you are worried about getting to and from the court or perhaps worried about being in the same place as the perpetrator, then Andy’s role Is to manage risks to make it safe for you.
Andy says that the best part of his role is knowing that you don’t have to face the court process alone.