There's a process that takes place whenever someone reports an incident of domestic abuse to the police.

The police

When an incident of domestic abuse is reported to the police they will:

  • take a statement
  • offer to refer the victim to an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor and/or Victim Support depending on the victim’s needs and any additional support they may need
  • explain what support and services are available before and during court.


The Witness Care Unit

A joint initiative between the police and the Crown Prosecution Service who help victims and witnesses by giving them a single point of contact throughout the court process.

They will:

  • give the victim the name of a Witness Care Officer who will be the single point of contact about the case
  • keep the victim updated and provide information about support available
  • give all the information needed relating to support and the court case
  • make an assessment of the victim’s needs, helping with travel arrangements to court, child care or interpreters if needed
  • refer the victim to the court based Witness Service, who will contact the victim before court to arrange a pre-trial court visit, as well as providing dedicated support on the day of trial.


Independent Domestic Violence Advisors

Independent Domestic Violence Advisors are a specialist support service who are independent from the criminal justice system.

After making a statement the victim will be contacted by an Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (assuming they've agreed to a referral) who, together with Specialist Support Services, will:

  • explain and assess needs and options
  • help complete paperwork
  • help with safety plans at every stage
  • explain the procedure and the positive outcomes of the Specialist Domestic Violence Court
  • help with child protection issues
  • give service details for the victim to get advice on housing, immigration, benefits and employment
  • work closely with other agencies or support organisations to make sure all needs are met
  • work with other agencies concerning harassment or intimidation
  • offer emotional support for as long as it's needed

The key outcome is to increase the safety of survivors of domestic abuse and their children. The Independent Domestic Violence Advisors service is aimed at clients who have been identified as medium or high risk. The support is intended to be a short/medium term service in place to reduce the risk of further domestic abuse and the emotional effects caused by it.

Independent Domestic Violence Advisors take self referrals and referrals from other professionals. A full risk Domestic Abuse, Stalking, Harassment & Honour Based Abuse risk assessment would be completed to determine the risk level of the victim.

If a case is referred to a Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor will be able to represent the victim.

Contact Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline on 08 088 088 088 for access to an IDVA for your area.

If you're a professional wanting to refer someone you work with to an Independent Domestic Violence Advisors, please complete the attached Referral Form and email it to the team.