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Crisis Worker

In the event that you attend The Ferns for a forensic medical examination a Crisis Worker will be available to support you throughout your time here. She will be the first person you meet at the Centre, and will look after your immediate needs and assist you in determining the service that you require by providing you with your options.

She will give you time to absorb and reflect on information you are given so that you can be sure you understand it and can make informed choices about your care.

If you decide you want to have a medical examination, she will remain with you for support. She will complete the initial paperwork with you and explain what will happen next.

All our Crisis Workers are trained to listen to any concerns you may have, answer any questions and provide you with information both at the Centre and for you to take away with you.


Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE)

If you choose to have a forensic medical examination, a specially trained Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) will come to The Ferns to see you in one of our fully equipped suites, specially designed to protect your dignity and privacy. The purpose of the examination is to look after your immediate health care needs and to collect forensic evidence from you with your permission. 

The examination involves checking for any injuries and deciding what forensic samples should be taken.  The nurse will discuss the examination with you, explaining what will happen to make sure you understand the process and are comfortable and happy to continue. You can take the examination at your own pace and can stop at any time if you change your mind.

The nurse will also ask about your past medical history, and discuss and advise you regarding any immediate health concerns. During assessment with the nurse, they will discuss emergency contraception, pregnancy and blood borne viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis B.

It is advised following any sexual assault that you are screened for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you attend The Ferns for a forensic medical examination, a full STI test should be done around 14-21 days after the incident; this can be completed at your local Genito-Urinary Medicine (GUM) clinic. The Ferns will make an appointment for you to attend your local GUM Sexual Health Clinic; alternatively if you wish to make the appointment yourself, we can provide you with the clinic details. 

After the examination you will be given the option to have a shower, the Crisis Worker will provide you with toiletries, towels, a dressing gown and a change of clothes if you require them. 


Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA)

Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA’s) are specially trained to support victims of sexual violence and are able to offer practical and emotional support after you have been to the centre as well as leading up to and during a court case, if required. All ISVA services within Suffolk are free and confidential. A crisis worker will discuss ISVA support with you and with your consent will complete a referral to the ISVA service.

The ISVA’s role is to work with you and to help you to access services to address both your short term and long term needs. They will complete an initial assessment to identify these requirements. ISVA’s can provide support and advice across a wide range of issues such as housing, health and education. If the police are involved, the ISVA service can provide advice and support alongside the criminal justice system, including supporting you at court.  If required, an ISVA can refer you to different agencies or assist you in accessing the services of these agencies. The ISVA service is non-therapeutic, which means the ISVA is not able to provide counselling, but they can advise you of the therapeutic support available in your area that may suit your needs.