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Independent domestic violence advocates: perceptions of service users

This paper draws on the findings of a qualitative evaluation that examines user perceptions of the services provided by an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) to victims of domestic violence in one rural local authority area in the UK. Service users described being reluctant to report experiences of domestic violence but, having done so, finding the involvement of the IDVA invaluable in being able to provide them with the independent advice, information and emotional support that they would not otherwise have received. Although in general they were positive about IDVAs, users could also identify problems due to the telephone based nature of the advocacy that was offered and the duplication of services that sometimes occurred. This paper argues that an IDVA provides an important service to victims of domestic violence, which is likely to be particularly valuable in rural locations. However, the terms of reference for the role need be reviewed in order to maximize the contribution that IDVAs can make.

Author(s): Iolo Madoc-Jones, Karen Roscoe

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