Independent Sexual Violence Advocacy (ISVA)


We offer ISVA support to women and girls aged 13 and older who have survived rape, attempted rape, assault by penetration or childhood sexual abuse and:


  • want to know what is involved if they decide to report to the police;

  • are thinking about reporting and want more information and support reporting to the police;

  • have reported and are going through the Criminal Justice System;

  • are going to court and want extra support.

Anyone can report a sexual offence at any time after the event – there is no time limit, but the sooner you report, the more evidence can be gathered.  Rape Crisis Surrey & Sussex provide professional and independent support to women and girls aged 13 and older who have survived rape or other forms of sexual violence.  We understand that this can be a difficult time so we want to take some of the pressures off you by giving you unbiased and accurate information about the legal system and the procedures. We aim to help you feel more comfortable and in control of what is going on, at the same time being empathic, non-judgemental and honest. 


  • Have you reported what happened to the police but you’re not sure what happens next?

  • Are you not sure if you should report to the police?

  • Are you not sure if what happened to you is a crime?

  • Are you worried about giving evidence in court?

If you have experienced sexual violence, you will be feeling many different emotions. However you are feeling right now, know that you do not have to do this alone. We are here to help and we will support you by explaining every step of the journey ahead, so you can make the best decisions for yourself.


The Criminal Justice System can seem confusing and complicated. If you are considering reporting or you have already reported to the police, our ISVA is here to explain the choices you have and give you an overview of what will happen and keep you informed right up to and including the trial.

For more information check out our #BreakTheSilence films which show the process of someone going through the criminal justice system.



Find details of local Rape Crisis helplines and services near you.

Freephone 0808 802 9999

12:00 - 14.30 daily

19:00 - 21.30 daily



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Support Documents


Click here to view our support documents. Each document is available as a PDF download.


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01293 538 477

An ISVA can:

  • provide practical, factual and emotional support throughout your time in the Criminal Justice System;

  • explain what will happen from reporting right through to the trial and provide you with honest choices so you can make the decision that feels right for you;

  • give clear explanations of legal terms, proceedings, police protocols and your rights;

  • accompany you to police stations, video statements, medical appointments and meetings with the Crown Prosecution Service;

  • give a thorough overview of a trial, including live court visits before a trial so that you feel familiar with a court room and then accompany you to the trial itself;

  • offer ‘Grounding Sessions’  with our Counselling department to help you deal with panic attacks, flashbacks and any other difficult feelings;

  • provide immediate links to specialist therapy and any other services you may need.

We will treat you with respect and always be honest.

Our service is free of charge. Our offices are women-only, anonymous and close to the centre of Crawley  It is a safe and comfortable environment where you will feel listened to, believed, supported and are able to be yourself. You and your recovery is our priority.

Above all else, you need to know that what has happened to you was not your fault, should never have happened, and should not cause you to feel ashamed. You deserve the very best possible help and support.

What you may not know


  • You can report a crime at any time after the event – there is no time limit.

  • You report the crime as a witness but it is the Crown Prosecution Service who decide whether there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial.

  • You do not have your own lawyer - you are the main witness in a case and the most important person but it is not your case.

  • After you give your statement to the police you cannot discuss the case with other witnesses.

  • You will not have access to the defendant's statement or defence of the case.

  • The defendant does not have to prove his innocence - the court has to prove his guilt.

  • The process from reporting through to court on average takes between 12 and 18 months.

  • An ISVA can support you every step of the way.


                 You do not have to go through this alone.
Our advocacy service can be contacted on 01293 538 477 between 10am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, or by emailing

Charity No. 1170712

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© 2016 RCSAS.