Young Person’s Independent Domestic Abuse Advisor (IDVA)
Young Person’s IDVA
A Young Person’s Independent Domestic Abuse Advisor (IDVA) provides support to young people aged 13-25 who have experienced domestic abuse from a partner. The support can take many forms depending on whether the individual recognises there is a problem or not. It can range from helping someone to understand what a healthy relationship looks like (and what behaviour is not acceptable) through to developing safety plans to help an individual safely escape that relationship. Professionals who are concerned about a young person can refer them to a Young Person’s IDVA but it is always the young person’s choice if they engage with the service. Importantly, a young person does not have to report their experience to police to qualify for help. They can access support at any stage and significant work is underway to encourage young people to seek help early before problems escalate.
We talk to Kerry* who works in the Victim and Witness Hub as a Young Person’s IDVA.
How long have you been in the role?
What was your (professional/voluntary) background before taking on this job?
I was a young people’s worker for the local authority for around 10 years (Early Help Services). I worked one-to-one with young people facing a whole spectrum of issues including homelessness, poor self-esteem, drug and alcohol issues, low aspiration or low school attainment.
What sort of support do you offer?
It could involve healthy relationship work, thinking about the dynamics of a particular relationship and what feels normal and what doesn’t. It could be safety planning because that individual plans to leave that relationship and we need to ensure that happens in the safest way possible. It could be supporting an individual to explore civil options, advocating on their behalf to ensure they receive special measures in court proceedings or being there to provide emotional support on the day. It could also include liaison work with other services including the police, specialist care or housing.
Can you think of a victim/witness that you recently supported and describe what you think helped them recover/report/seek support?
A client we are working with currently was with her partner for six years. She wasn’t really questioning that dynamic until we started doing healthy relationship work and thinking about the rules of that relationship and whether they were fair and balanced. Now she is moving out of area and cutting off contact, working with the police as part of an ongoing investigation and is pushing through the safety plan. This feels really promising. She is feeling empowered to take charge to step outside that relationship and give herself another chance.
*Names have been changed to maintain anonymity.