You might prefer to view this website through ‘incognito mode’, which will not record your browsing history or save cookies that show that you’ve visited this website.

ISVA Practitioner Diploma

The Survivors Trust is the only organisation in the UK that provides an accredited diploma qualification for Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs). We contributed to the Home Office’s development of National Occupational Standards for the ISVA role published in 2017.

“After years working as an ISVA, I had the opportunity to do the formal ISVA training. This has not only acted as a comprehensive refresher course, but I have learnt new information, made new contacts and had the valuable experience of hearing how other ISVAs practice. I’ve reflected on my practices and found better ways to do them.”

ISVAs provide emotional support and guidance for anyone that has experienced sexual violence at any point in their lives. ISVAs are trained to look after the needs of their clients, and to ensure that they receive care and understanding. They help victim-survivors to understand how the criminal justice process works, and explain things such as what will happen if they report to the police, and the importance and process of forensic DNA retrieval. ISVAs are there to provide clients with the information they need to make the right decision for them. They do not pressure clients into reporting any offence to the police. They are a figure of trust, empathy and respect.

Our training focuses on a survivor focused ethos, meaning that we train our ISVAs to have their clients needs at the centre of all their work.

Our Course

The aims of the ISVA Practitioner Programme are:

  1. To provide high quality training specific to the role of ISVA working with rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse and childhood sexual abuse;

  2. To equip ISVA practitioners with the information and skills they need to work effectively for and on behalf of their clients and to provide a clear understanding of the role of an ISVA including awareness of criminal justice processes, partnership working and inter-agency work on sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse;

  3. To promote and work on the principle that this programme is recognised nationally for practice for working with sexual violence and abuse issues;

  4. To ensure all victims of sexual crime gain appropriate care and provision to help towards the recovery process.

2024 Course Dates


*Please note, the final two days (Session 5) will be delivered face-to-face in our office in Rugby, Warwickshire. A hybrid option might be available. Please get in touch to discuss.
Session 1
Foundations Skills and Knowledge for ISVAs, Vicarious Trauma and Burn Out

17th & 18th July

25th & 26th September

Session 2

Partnership Working, Interpersonal Skills, Diversity, and Equality

28th & 29th August

23rd & 24th October

Session 3

Negotiation and Mediation

18th & 19th September

27th & 28th November

Session 4

Criminal Justice System and SARC Partnership Working

16th & 17th October

18th & 19th December

Session 5*

Safeguarding, Reflective Practice and Vicarious Trauma

13th & 14th November

15th & 16th January

Qualification Gained

The Survivors Trust ISVA Practitioner Training Programme has been specifically designed to provide key learning outcomes and course material to ensure participants are equipped to meet the requirements, demands and challenges of delivering effective ISVA practice and provision for working with victims and survivors of all forms of sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse.

Participants will benefit from a range of learning opportunities, including use of case studies, presentations, group discussions, observation, reflective logs, written and practical assessment.

External presentations are an important feature of the course ensuring additional expert input in key areas of the training programme, including child protection and the law.

Participants will gain an accredited diploma qualification at Level 4 (equivalent to A/S, A2, Access, GNVQ Advanced) with AIM Qualifications, representing 175 hours of learning. This comprises 60 teaching hours and 115 hours of self-directed study and coursework completion.

Entry Requirements

Participation in this course will involve use of IT and internet systems, including Word, Excel and Internet Explorer. If this will pose any difficulties, please contact us to discuss.

For students in employment, acceptance on the ISVA Training Programme is conditional upon participants being supported to attend the course by the organisation they are employed by. This includes ensuring additional study time for this course has been agreed with a student’s Line Manager, prior to registration.

If the course is oversubscribed, priority will be given to applicants from The Survivors Trust member organisations who are currently working as ISVAs. The Survivors Trust reserves the right to allocate places.

We also welcome independent students who are not currently employed in the Sexual Violence sector onto the course. We ask that these students speak with our Training & Development Manager before applying.

Format of Course

The course uses a variety of learning techniques to ensure we get the best out of all students. There will be presentations, group discussions, case studies, reflective logs, and written and practical assessments and observations.

The programme runs over 10 days, divided into 5 two-day training events. Each day starts at 09:30, finishes at 16:30 and there is an hour’s lunch break in the middle, and short breaks either side.

The first 4 sessions will take place online via Zoom. Students are required to access training from a confidential location. This is to enable students to discuss sensitive topics. Students are also required to keep camera’s on throughout training so that our trainers can assess engagement as well as assess student wellbeing.

The ISVA Programme Sessions will focus on providing ISVA practitioners with clear knowledge and understanding of the ISVA role and will develop all the skills ISVA practitioners need to meet the demands and challenges of the role.

Training Venue

The first four sessions of the course will be delivered online using a combination of Zoom and GiraffePad. Support will be given to ensure participants can confidently use these systems.

The final two days (Session 5) will be delivered face-to-face in our office in Rugby, Warwickshire, which is situated within walking distance of Rugby Train Station and the town centre. On-site parking is available.

Course Fees

Course fees include registration fees, accreditation and course materials (including handouts and further reading). VAT is not chargeable.

In recognition of the funding pressures experienced within the sector, The Survivors Trust has maintained course fees which represent a generous subsidy against estimated full-cost recovery of £3,000 per student:

The Survivors Trust member organisations
Independent Students – not being sponsored
Registered charities

To register, or for further information please contact: