The Day in the Life as an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor – IDVA FOR ALL 

An IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advisor) is a specialist professional who works with victims of domestic abuse to develop a trusting relationship. Their primary role is to provide support to individuals who are at high risk of serious harm due to domestic violence. Here are some key aspects of an IDVA’s role:

1) Safety and Support: An IDVA assists victims in becoming safe and rebuilding their lives. They offer emotional support, practical guidance, and help navigate the criminal justice process.

2) Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC): IDVAs represent victims’ voices at a Multi-agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC). During these meetings, professionals from various agencies collaborate to assess risks and develop safety plans for victims.

3) Wraparound Support: IDVAs work closely with statutory agencies (such as police, social services, and health professionals) to provide comprehensive support. They address various needs, including housing, legal advice, and emotional well-being.

The impact of an IDVA’s support is significant:

  • Cessation of Abuse: After receiving support from an IDVA, survivors reported a cessation of various types of abuse, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, harassment, and controlling behavior.
  • Improved Safety: A majority of survivors felt safer after working with an IDVA.
  • Enhanced Quality of Life: Many survivors reported an improvement in their quality of life

In summary, IDVAs play a crucial role in helping victims of domestic abuse by providing personalised assistance, advocacy, and safety planning.

To help us understand what the role entails, an IDVA at Dudley charity, CHADD, Dani has shared with us what a day in the life could look like for her in her role supporting people who have experienced domestic abuse and who may now be at risk or experiencing homelessness as a result. Dani is an IDVA for All, who, at CHADD, is there to be someone who understands the challenges for survivors coming from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.  Here to help you extract yourself from abusive relationships. 

The day in the life as an IDVA is how you would imagine it to be… or is it?

If, like me, you like to be organised, love a to-do list and have somewhat of a schedule for the day, then be prepared to have an ever-growing list and your day never quite turning out how you expected it too.  

However, saying that, this is one of the best parts of the job, that no day is the same, constantly coming up against new challenges and never having the opportunity to be bored… or some days have Dinner at a responsible time. 

This is typically the idea of my schedule on the morning when I arrive to work, but as an 

IDVA you are not in a typical Job role. This is because its people’s lives and life can be unpredictable and unexpected.  Due to being a high risk IDVA when calls to new referrals are made in the morning, this could mean that emergency crisis intervention is need urgently and this will need to take priority over some of the other work that is in the Diary for that day.                                            

This could look like seeking emergency refuge accommodation which may need to be adapted or may need to be suitable for children and all these factors can impact what is accessible to someone.  Once a suitable refuge space has been sought it is then making referrals to that refuge and contact the Homeless prevention Team to refer someone as homeless. During this process it is important that the client is keep up to date with the progression of things and emotional support provided.

Refuge accommodation may not be readily available or suitable, therefore may need to look at other options to find suitable accommodation such as requesting that Housing or Social Services fund hotel accommodation or more recently TSB have launched an Emergency Flee Fund which has been fundamental in securing funds to source temporary emergency accommodation as an interim option whilst housing providers then seek alternative accommodation.

This may also involve conducting an emergency home visit to complete a Sanctuary Assessment on the property if someone wants to remain in their own home enhancing the security in the home address such as change of locks all the way through to installing a panic room, whilst adhering to protocol and procedures. 

Following emergency accommodation (or Sanctuary complete with emergency protective orders) additional appointments will be made for follow on support. This could look like making referrals to housing associations etc should the client wish too and any other support needs that they may have. This is a holistic package of support rather than just supporting with one particular need so this will include support for mental health, benefits, housing, children issues, alcohol and drug misuse etc so there are always new challenges and things to keep you busy. (P.s see how the to-do list can be every growing) 

In this role you have to be flexible and adaptable to be able to deal with what needs prioritising on a daily basis as well as providing continued support to those who may be at a different stage in their journey. 

Even though I like to have to-do lists, schedules and atheistically pleasing stationary to organise my day, guaranteed the day will not turn out how I initially planned. Having said that, looking at the above schedule and knowing that when I get home at night that today I had the opportunity to make a real difference and help someone in Dudley …. I will happily keep making changes to my day and making a mess of my Diary (Hint, just always write in pencil) 

CHADD Dudley (Churches Housing Association of Dudley & District) is an organisation in Dudley, UK, providing supported housing for various groups, including older persons, people with special needs, young families, and those experiencing domestic abuse. They aim to be a safety net during crises and help people toward independence. CHADD has been serving the community since 1979 and collaborates with partner agencies to deliver essential services . If you need housing or support, CHADD is there to assist.