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The V Word

Advocating to end sexual and domestic violence

Month

July 2015

Unique prevention programs in middle schools

Carol talks about successful prevention programs in two schools systems.

You can listen to the show here

Need to find a local sexual assault or rape crisis center near your school?  Look at the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance List of Member Agencies to find local centers.

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Virginia and National Training Opportunities

Basic and Continuing Advocacy Training through the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence  Action Alliance
Basic and Continuing Advocacy Training offers advocates and staff of Sexual and Domestic Violence Agencies as well as allied professionals and community members a foundation to learn and practice many of the skills necessary to provide effective, trauma-informed responses to survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence. The Basic Advocacy Training (BAT) are scheduled to be held in Richmond, VA, while the Continuing Advocacy Training (CAT) will be held at locations around the Commonwealth of Virginia. If you would like to bring a BAT or CAT to your region, please visit our website and make a request.
All BATs and CATs are $45 and the fee includes materials and lunch.
Don’t forget to use your member discount code when registering.
Not a member?  Become one here. The 2015 codes will be provided when memberships are renewed at the beginning of the year. If you have questions about how to receive your member discount, please contact us at training@vsdvalliance.org or get in touch with your staff liaison as assigned.
Upcoming training include:
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Technical Assistance Calls & Webinars
phone
These TA calls are free for member agencies of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. The calls will be from 10:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m. (unless otherwise noted). Click on the title to register and receive call-in information.

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Training from End Violence Against Women International 

One of the most common requests we receive is for resources associated with the neurobiology of trauma, and the implications for trauma-informed interviews, investigations, and prosecutions. We would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the training and technical assistance resources we offer in this area.
Webinar on Neurobiology
We are delighted to offer a 90-minute webinar given by Dr. Rebecca Campbell on The Neurobiology of Sexual Assault. It is available for free in our webinar archives, so it can be accessed at any time.

Participants will learn about the neurobiology of trauma and its application to victims of sexual assault. By exploring how trauma affects victims’ emotions and behavior, special attention will be given to examining how the brain processes and recalls traumatic events. This will help law enforcement personnel and other professionals recognize how these concepts can be applied to sexual assault investigations and prosecutions – with the goal of improving both victim well-being and case success.
Along with the audiorecording of the webinar, we provide the slides in PDF format, with either 3 slides per page or 1 slide per page. A transcript of the webinar is also available, along with the responses to chat questions submitted by webinar participants. These questions were adapted for a general audience, and responses were co-authored by Sgt. Archambault along with EVAWI’s Research Director, Dr. Kim Lonsway.

Webinars on Victim Interviewing

 Also available is an archived webinar by Russell Strand, entitled A Paradigm Shift: The Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (FETI). This webinar provides information on the neurobiology of trauma and the implications for successfully interviewing sexual assault victims.

We also have an archived webinar on Effective Victim Interviewing, presented by Roger Canaff and Joanne Archambault. While it does not specifically address the neurobiology of trauma and its implications, valuable guidance is provided for successfully interviewing victims of sexual assault with an eye toward criminal prosecution.

Published Articles
Another helpful resource is a short article written by Dr. James W. Hopper entitled, “Why Many Rape Victims Don’t Fight or Yell.” It appeared in the Washington Post on June 23, 2015, and provides an excellent and accessible summary of the neurobiology of trauma and the implications for victim behavior during a sexual assault.

Dr. Hopper also co-authored an article with Dr. David Lisak, entitled: “Why Rape and Trauma Survivors Have Fragmented and Incomplete Memories.” This article was posted on Time.com, and it also provides a detailed yet accessible explanation of how trauma can impact behavior and memory. The article draws helpful parallels to the scenario where a police officer is “suddenly staring at the wrong end of a gun.”

Online Resources
In the Best Practices section of our website, there are a variety of Resources as well as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the neurobiology of trauma and trauma-informed approaches.  For example, FAQs include the following:

  • Is there any kind of test to determine whether there is an increase in certain neurochemicals as a result of experiencing trauma?
  • Are the processes involved in the neurobiology of trauma affected by mental illness or other mental health issues? Are they affected by drugs or alcohol?
  • Are there studies about the neurobiology of trauma resulting from domestic violence? Is it similar to the effects of sexual assault? Are the implications the same for conducting interviews with victims of intimate partner violence?
  • Are there any experts who can testify about the neurobiology of trauma and the implications for victims of sexual assault?
 
OLTI Module on Victim Interviewing
 
We offer an OnLine Training Institute (OLTI) module onInterviewing the Victim: Techniques Based on the Realistic Dynamics of Sexual Assault. This module was written in 2007, and although we made updates in 2013 we have not yet incorporated information on the neurobiology of sexual assault and trauma-informed approaches. Nonetheless, we recommend this training module, because it offers hundreds of pages with detailed information on topics such as:
  • Strategizing an interview approach based on case facts
  • Preparing for heightened effectiveness and avoiding common pitfalls
  • Establishing rapport and building a relationship of trust with the victim
  • Gathering information to support a successful investigation and prosecution
  • Closing the interview and following up with the victim

For victims who have a disability, even more detailed guidance is provided in the OLTI module on Successfully Investigating Sexual Assault Against Victims with Disabilities.

The only section of the Victim Interviewing module that requires caution at this point is the topic of Cognitive Interviewing. There are certainly some valuable lessons to be learned from that approach, and there is a body of research supporting its use for certain purposes, but we caution that it should not be adopted wholesale for use with sexual assault victims. When we update that module and incorporate information on trauma-informed approaches we will reduce that content and frame its utility in somewhat narrower terms (e.g., recalling specific facts, events, details).

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Other State and National Training Opportunities

National Children’s Advocacy Center – Virtual Training Center. Various free online training opportunities.

Enhancing the Campus & Community Response to Adult Sexual Assault: A Team Approach. Free. Hosted by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. Monday, August 31, 2015 – Tuesday, September 1, 2015 — Hampden-Sydney, VA Wednesday, September 2, 2015 – Thursday, September 3, 2015 — Williamsburg, VA

National Sexual Assault Conference. September 2-4, Los Angeles, CA, $475 and up (transportation, lodging, and most meals not included), Hosted by CALCASA, NSVRC, and PCAR {Scholarships available}

reposted from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance  and End Violence Against Women International 

New Campus Sexual Assault Laws in Virginia

Today’s show is about the new sexual assault laws going into effect this month across Virginia.

You can listen to the show here

HB 1785. Campus police departments; sexual assault reporting. The law requires that mutual aid agreements between a campus police force and a law-enforcement agency require either the campus police force or the agency with which it has established a mutual aid agreement to notify the local attorney for the Commonwealth within 48 hours of beginning any investigation involving felony criminal sexual assault occurring on campus property or other property related to the institution of higher education. The law also requires institutions of higher education that have security departments instead of campus police forces to enter into a memorandum of understanding with a law-enforcement agency that requires similar notification to the local attorney for the Commonwealth.

HB 1930/SB 712. Institutions of higher education; reporting acts of sexual violence. The law requires any responsible employee of a public or private nonprofit institution of higher education who in the course of his employment obtains information that an act of sexual violence has been committed against a student or on campus property or other property related to the institution to report such information to the Title IX coordinator for the institution as soon as practicable, who must in turn report such information to a review committee that is required to meet within 72 hours of the receipt of such information. If the review committee determines that disclosure of the information regarding the alleged act of sexual violence is necessary to protect the health and safety of the victim or other individuals, the information, including personally identifiable information, must be reported to the law-enforcement agency responsible for investigating the alleged act. In addition, the law requires the governing board of each public or private nonprofit institution of higher education to (i) establish a written memorandum of understanding with a local sexual assault crisis center or other victim support service and (ii) adopt policies to provide victims with information on contacting such center or service. The law requires each public or private nonprofit institution of higher education to annually certify to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia that it has reviewed its sexual violence policy and requires the Department of Criminal Justice Services to monitor and report on the impact of the legislation on the workload of local victim witness programs.

SB 1193. Academic transcripts; suspension, permanent dismissal, or withdrawal from institution. The law requires the registrar of certain public and private institutions of higher education, or the other employee, office, or department of the institution that is responsible for maintaining student academic records, to include a prominent notation on the transcript of each student who has been suspended for, has been permanently dismissed for, or withdraws from the institution while under investigation for an offense involving sexual violence, defined as physical sexual acts committed against a person’s will or against a person incapable of giving consent, under the institution’s code, rules, or set of standards governing student conduct. Any notation due to a student’s suspension must be removed if the student completed the term and conditions of the suspension and has been determined by the institution to be in good standing.

Need to find a local sexual assault or rape crisis center near your school?  Look at the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance List of Member Agencies to find local centers.

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