Please join MCASA for our annual one-day trauma-informed training, presented by Kimberly A. Lonsway, Ph.D., Research Director of End Violence Against Women International. This training will consist of three sessions which include:
Opening Doors: Increasing Access for Sexual Assault Victims to the Criminal Justice System and Community Services
There is currently a welcome national trend to “open doors” for sexual assault victims to the criminal justice system and community services. This movement can be seen as “trauma-informed,” because the goal is to reform our systems to better meet the needs of survivors and support people coping with the trauma of sexual assault victimization. In other words, the trauma-informed perspective extends beyond the victim interview to agency policies, multidisciplinary protocols, and the entire community response system.
In this session, we will explore various alternative reporting options for law enforcement and implementation of the forensic compliance provisions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The session will also introduce a new, multilingual technology platform called Seek Then Speak that provides sexual assault survivors and their support people with immediate access to the critical information they need to gather information, explore options, and take action. Survivors can even begin the process of reporting to law enforcement or connecting with victim advocacy through Victim Link.
Yet implementing this type of philosophy requires more than just reporting options. Communities must also address numerous complex issues regarding: evidence collection, storage, records retention, retrieval, and collaboration between law enforcement, victim advocacy, and health care. In this session, recommendations for best practice and existing tools will be reviewed from across the country. With a focus on local implementation, participants will leave this session prepared to make recommendations for positive change to “open doors” in their own communities.
Neurobiology of Trauma and Effective Victim Interviews
Victim credibility is judged based on the information they are able to recall and report their sexual assault at the time of the initial law enforcement interview. However, traumatized individuals undergo a process that many professionals – and victims themselves – do not understand. This session will briefly explore the impact of trauma on the brain, including responses to a threat such as sexual assault. An understanding of these neuroscientific processes can potentially transform the way law enforcement conducts victim interviews, indeed, how victims are perceived. This will allow us to become truly “trauma informed” in our interviewing and investigative practices.
Yet law enforcement investigators are not the only ones who interact with sexual assault victims. This session will also explore the implications of a “trauma-informed” perspective for victim interactions with health care providers, advocates, and attorneys.
Start by Believeing: Improving Responses, One Disclosure at a Time
In April 2011, EVAWI launched “Start by Believing,” a global awareness campaign focused on the personal and professional responses to sexual assault. Inspiration for the campaign was drawn from decades of research showing that unlike victims of other crimes, sexual assault victims routinely have to prove they are “legitimate” victims before they are taken seriously. Start by Believing aims to level the playing field in how sexual assault crimes are initially approached. Goals of the campaign include reducing the fear and stigma associated with sexual assault disclosures, improving responses of professionals and the public, and serving as a catalyst for cultural change in sexual assault responses worldwide. With campaigns now taking hold in countless communities, states, and even internationally, our vision is becoming a reality as we change how individuals respond when victims utter those terrible words: “I was raped.”
Registration is now open for this training! Please click here to visit the event registration page. This training is free and open to the public.
If you have any questions about the event, please contact us at [email protected] or (301) 328-7023