idvas: Independent domestic violence advocates

nia’s Service is a specialist service for women and their families in Haringey, Newham and Hackney who have been  assessed at being at high risk of repeated domestic violence.
IDVAs are independent from all agencies to ensure the best possible support and information is offered to each woman, but because they work with women who have been identified as being at high risk, IDVAs are most effective within a multi-agency framework.  The IDVA’s role in all multi-agency settings is to keep the woman’s perspective and safety at the centre of proceedings.

What is high risk domestic violence?
High risk domestic violence is a pattern of abuse which presents a risk of serious harm or homicide. The SafeLives DASH* risk assessment is used to assist practitioners and professionals with establishing whether women may be identified as being at high risk. It is estimated that around ten per cent of all women who experience domestic violence can be described as being at high risk.
* Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Homicide

What does the advocacy service include?

  • Risk assessment, risk management and safety planning
  • Information and support about options
  • Assistance in accessing legal advice and representation e.g. to obtain injunctions or for immigration advice
  • Attendance and support at court hearings and meetings with other agencies
  • Emotional support
  • Practical advocacy in regards to housing and benefits
  • Support and safety planning for the future
  • Representation of the woman’s voice at MARAC (multi-agency risk assessment conference)

The IDVA service helps women and their families to live in safety by accessing the support they need to live free from violence and abuse. Advocates work with women on a one-to-one basis to develop a support and safety plan to meet their needs. 

Who is the service for?
The service is open to all women aged 16 and over living in Haringey, Newham or Hackney who are at high risk of repeated domestic violence.  The service is free. All women are treated with respect, dignity and sensitivity. We value the diversity of the community and work to ensure all women have access to the services they need.

The Advocates
All IDVAs have taken specialist accredited training from SafeLives or Women’s Aid.

How do I refer or find out more information?
Each borough we work in has a different referral process. For help making a referral contact


    Haringey: 0300 012 0213
    Newham: 0845 451 2547
    Hackney: 0800 056 0905

    nia’s IDVA service has a Quality Mark from the Advice Quality Standard for General Casework (Women).

    nia’s IDVA service achieved SafeLives Leading Lights accreditation and adheres to the IDVA Charter. 




IRIS is a GP training programme that started as a research project to identify the difference having a dedicated advocate providing training to GPs and in-house support within GP surgeries can make to a doctor’s capacity to better identify and support/signpost women experiencing domestic violence to wider support services. Ultimately, IRIS aims to improve the health care response to domestic violence and abuse. IRIS was identified as good practice in The Lancet in 2011.

nia delivers IRIS in Hackney and Haringey.
You can be referred via your GP.

ISVAs - Independent Sexual Violence Advocates

East London Rape Crisis offers advocacy services including specialist advocacy for you women.

For more information click here

The London Exiting and Advocacy (LEA) Project offers advocacy services for women in London wishing to exit prostitution. 
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