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Decision details

Independent Domestic and Sexual Violence Advisor for Street Sex Workers

Decision Maker: Director: Communities & Public Health

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


Street sex workers are often reluctant to present at services due to fear of judgement, disclosure of personal information or/or repercussions from the criminal justice system and are more likely to approach dedicated sex-work projects.
Bristol City Council has funded a specialist IDSVA for street sex workers for the past 8 months. The IDSVA provides intensive support for these highly marginalised women who have experienced domestic abuse and/or sexual violence. The IDSVA also supports women at the Respite Rooms, a 10-bed facility offering immediate safe spaces to women who have experienced domestic abuse and/or sexual violence and are experiencing, or at risk of, street homelessness. In order to support street sex workers in Bristol, it is important that specialist support continues.
The OPCC fund a number of ISVAs who deliver a support plan of practical and emotional support to those who have experienced sexual violence according to the nationally recognised ISVA model. We have decided to co-commission the Specialist IDSVA for Street Sex Workers from April 2025 due to the following benefits being identified:
•Allow the specialist IDSVA to work collaboratively within the OPCC ISVA model for both resilience and support.
•Align contract management across services.
•Allow Bristol City Council a greater stake in the ISVA operating model.
Bristol City Council and the OPCC are both committed to working with in partnership with specialist organisations to meet the diverse needs of victim/survivors particularly those who are hardest to reach.
Regarding value for money, this role has the potential to reduce the need for medical care/ admissions to hospital and can support people get back into work, which has positive economic implications. In the report ‘Saving lives, saving money: MARACs and high risk domestic abuse’ (CAADA, 2010), it was suggested that MARAC could save £6 for every £1 spent annually (Link)– with an IDSVA referring into MARAC, the role has the potential to be cost-effective.


Agreement to continue to fund an Independent Domestic and Sexual Violence Advisor (IDSVA) at One 25 (current provider) to work with street sex workers at a cost of £37,577 (£50,103 per annum) for 9 months - 1st July 2024 - 31st March 2025 (procuring with advice from BCC procurement team)
Authorisation to join the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) from 1st April 2025 onwards as co-commissioners for the Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) Service (along with NHS England ) investing £50,103 p.a. to fund specialist Street Sex Worker Independent Domestic and Sexual Violence Advisor (IDSVA) provision in Bristol as part of the ISVA Lot under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for two years in the first instance, subject to break clauses.

Alternative options considered:

•A Non-Specialist post: Street sex workers are often reluctant to present at non-dedicated support services, a specialist IDSVA is crucial to meet the needs of those who are street sexing working and at risk of serious harm.
•Continuing to commission the role without the OPCC: The IDSVA role currently funded by Bristol City Council operates outside of a wider OPCC commissioned ISVA service, co-commissioning would avoid this fragmented provision and allow for further collaboration.

Publication date: 25/03/2024

Date of decision: 14/03/2024