The role of the CISVA is to provide immediate emotional and practical support to the child/young person following disclosure of sexual harm and/or abuse. (The CISVA will provide support via a parent/carer if the child is unable to engage.) The CISVA is an independent worker who acts as a direct point of contact for the child/family and liaises with police/social care/other agencies about the ongoing investigation whilst advocating for the client’s needs. This can also include talking to the client about the pros/cons of making a formal complaint and providing an ABE interview to the police. The CISVA continues to provide support throughout the criminal justice process, including arranging any special measures and/or pre-recorded evidence via s28 and attending Court with the client. (The level of support offered is dependent on each client’s assessed needs.) The CISVA remains independent of all other agencies and does not discuss any details of the abuse with the client.
How to make a referral
When a child or young person makes a disclosure of sexual abuse and/or harm which has just been reported and is being investigated by police/social care. The referrer needs to ensure they have gained consent as we are a voluntary service that can be declined by the client/parent/carer. There isn’t a waiting list for CISVA and contact will be made within 48 hours of the referral being received.
The majority of CISVA referrals are made by the police and children’s social care. However, any agency can make a referral for CISVA support. It doesn’t matter how many referrals we receive for the child, as long as we receive it. An ideal opportunity would be for CISVA referral to be added as an agenda item at strategy meetings held in response to a disclosure of sexual harm/abuse. It can then be clearly agreed who will make the referral and by when.
Accessing therapeutic wellbeing or formal therapy
A young person is eligible if they are aged 0 to 17 years, live in Barnsley and have experienced sexual abuse, where the abuse has been reported or investigated by the police or social care and where any criminal proceedings have concluded. We also accept referrals for young people who have been impacted by sexual abuse. (For example, a child whose father has abused a half-sibling.)
We accept referrals from professionals, parents, carers and self-referrals as long as the above criteria have been met. We are in the process of changing our referral process but for now, professionals need to contact our office on (01226) 320140 and BSO’s will talk them through how to complete the referral form and return it through a secure link.
The returned referral is then screened to see which support is most suitable for the client to access. Parents, carers or self-referrals can also be made by contacting us and we call you back. We do have an 8 week waiting list for therapy and emotional wellbeing support. We are a systemic, trauma-informed service that undertakes work with parents and carers of clients, including joint sessions where required, liaising with schools and other key professionals in order to help the client recover from the trauma of sexual harm. We also offer a trauma-informed parenting group to parents/carers of clients in our service. We will offer group sessions to clients once we are in a position to be able to do this safely in the Covid climate.
In relation to pre-trial therapy, the CPS are in the process of issuing new guidance in relation to services being able to offer this to clients prior to them providing their s28 evidence. As an agency, we will give this full consideration and hope to be in a position where we’re able to offer this, especially as matters are taking in excess of 2.5 years to reach trial.
Follow up and contact point
The referrer is responsible for contacting BSARCS 72 hours after submitting the above referrals to confirm receipt.
BSARCS will contact the JIT and Assessment Team Service Manager if we become aware of any clients who have not been referred for CISVA support when they were eligible for this service.