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Role Profile: Health Independent Domestic Violence Advisor

Hope is the Health IDVA who works in Trelsike hospital, alongside her counterpart, Sarah, who works from Bodmin and across other Cornwall hospitals. Their roles are critical to integrating Domestic Abuse responses into general healthcare, intervention and offering people in abusive situations a safe space and a listening ear.

The First Light Health IDVAs are based within the safeguarding teams across the hospitals. Any alerts that come to the safeguarding teams from any of the wards that may be domestic abuse cases are passed on to the health IDVA, who will then pay a visit to the patient.

Their role is to offer a listening ear, and to triage the patient, and support patients whilst they are in hospital to make sure they are as safe as possible and that they are safe for discharge. Once they are discharged, they will be referred to a Domestic Abuse support worker if necessary, or into other support services to help them stay safe.

Why do you think your role is important?

It’s a vital role to reach parts of the community that can otherwise be overlooked. A High proportion of cases are elderly people, or women visiting the maternity ward.

People coming into A&E with injuries that don’t add up offers an opportunity to intervene and offer support, in a safe location away from abusive homes. The health role doesn’t just include people who present physical illnesses, we also work with people who are entering mental health facilities.

Offering the appointments in the hospital or health institution also offers the chance to meet with a Domestic Abuse support worker discretely. There are many reasons people do not reach out for help, so proactive roles like the Health IDVA are crucial in bridging the gap between people experiencing abuse and the support they need. These roles allow for crisis point intervention, and for outreach to hard-to-reach communities.

Why First Light?

Hope likes the idea of being able to improve someone’s life and show them that reaching out for help isn’t scary. It’s so rewarding to show people that we are here to support them. It’s a real privilege to speak to people who have never spoken to anyone about their abuse and to be the person that represents their first steps on the way to recovery.