Support for victims of sexual violence

Refuge’s Independent Sexual Violence Advocates (ISVAs) support all women, men and young people who have been raped or sexually assaulted. It does not matter when the abuse took place, even if it was years ago.

At Refuge, we understand that anybody can experience sexual assault or rape, regardless of gender, background, age, race, or sexuality. Refuge’s expert ISVAs are highly trained to work with everyone – including those who are heterosexual, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning.

ISVAs work to empower and support women and men, giving them the opportunity to discuss the impacts of sexual violence on them and the space to consider their options, without judgment. If they want to report incidents to the police, a Refuge ISVA can support them to do so and give expert guidance on how the criminal justice system works.

“Things were really difficult; I was not going out and could not sleep. I was going mental; the ISVAs are the ones who helped me a lot and contributed in my life; the way I am today is because of them. They lifted me up and helped me a lot. The world was dark but they put a smile on my face.”


Annie*, who used Refuge’s Thames Valley ISVA service

The Thames Valley ISVA Service

Refuge has ISVAs based across the country, but its biggest sexual violence service is the Thames Valley service, which supports anyone in the local area who has experienced, or is at risk of experiencing, sexual assault or rape. Find out more.

what is sexaul violenceWhat is sexual violence?

Sexual violence includes any form of sexual activity (involving physical contact, words, or photographs) that takes place without the other person’s full and informed consent. Find out more.


*Names have been changed to protect anonymity