Dani Walker, our IDVA For All, talks about her day....

CHADD is leading the way with a top team of Independent Domestic Violence Advocates – helping hundreds of women and children each year. Known as IDVAs, they are highly specialist professionals, specifically trained to help survivors of domestic abuse. And they can represent them in court, too. Our Outreach and Refuge service now has seven IDVAs. Dani specialising in make sure our service and support are suitable for all people. 


I like to be organised, love a to-do list and start with a schedule for the day. However it does mean I will have an ever-growing list during the day and things never entirely turns out how I expect them to. Having said that, this is one of the best parts of the job: that no day is the same. I am constantly coming up against new challenges and never have the opportunity to be bored… and some days I get have dinner at a responsible time.

9.00am Arrive at work

9:10am Set up for the Day, put lunch in the Fridge, get water and make everyone a cup of tea

9:20am Check Diary & calendar for visits, meetings (probably something in there that I’ve forgotten about or double booked)

9.30am Re-arrange said appointments that I have double booked Check mobile phone and respond to message/calls and emails

10.00am Call any new referrals that have come in and need contacting

10.00am Scheduled home visit to client

11.30am Return to the Office. Admin – Type up notes update support plan from the visit.

12.00pm Dinner or as some people call it Lunch whilst distracting all of my colleagues

13.00pm Scheduled home visit or appointment at head office with client

14.00pm Admin

15.00pm Mental block Begin to think about the end of the day

15.30pm Another cup of tea as can’t possible look at any more paperwork

16.00pm Begin packing up and preparing for the next Day

16.30pm Leave the office.

This is typically the idea of my schedule on the morning when I arrive to work, but as an IDVA, you are not in a typical job role. This is because the job is about people’s lives, and life can be unpredictable and unexpected.

Being a high-risk IDVA when calls to new referrals are made in the morning could mean that emergency crisis intervention is needed urgently, and this will need to take priority over some of the other work in the diary for that day.

This could look like seeking emergency refuge accommodation, which may need to be adapted or suitable for children, and all these factors can impact what is accessible to someone.

Once a suitable refuge space has been sought, it is then making referrals to that refuge and contacting the Homeless Prevention Team to refer someone as homeless. During this process, it is vital that I make sure the client is kept updated and emotional support provided.

Sanctuary and Safety

Refuge accommodation may not be readily available or suitable, so I may need to look at other options, such as asking Housing or Social Services to fund hotel accommodation or, more recently, an Emergency Flee Fund, which has been fundamental in securing money to pay for emergency accommodation whilst housing providers find something more permanent.

This may also involve an emergency home visit to complete a Sanctuary Assessment if someone wants to remain in their home. I’d look at ways to make the home more secure, from a change of locks to installing a panic room. Whilst adhering to protocol and procedures.

Additional appointments will be made for follow-up support following emergency accommodation (or Sanctuary complete with emergency protective orders). This could include making referrals to housing associations if that’s what the client wants and any other support needs that they may have.

t may include help for mental health, benefits, housing, children issues, and alcohol and drug misuse. There are always new challenges and things to keep you busy. (See how that to-do list is already growing!)


In this role, you have to be flexible and adaptable to deal with what needs prioritising daily as well as providing continued support to those at a different stage in their journey.

Even though I like to have to-do lists, schedules and atheistically pleasing stationary to organise my day, I can guarantee the day will not turn out as planned

Making a Difference

aving said that, when I get home and look at the schedule, I know that today I had the opportunity to make a real difference and help someone in Dudley …. and as long as I get to do that I will happily keep making changes to my day and making a mess of my Diary

(Hint, just always write in pencil! )