The V Word

Advocating to end sexual and domestic violence


sexual violence

Presenting at conference focusing on the impact of sexual violence

I am honored and excited to be presenting next month with the Office of the Attorney General in collaboration with the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault.  The conference is the first time the OAG’s office is focusing on sexual violence and it’s impact on individuals.   I am honored to be a Plenary Speaker at the event presenting on the Impact of Sexual Violence on Victims.   I will be bringing another therapist, Melanie Gardner, with me to present a case study while I focus on trauma and it’s impact on the brain and the complexities of recovery.  The conference information is below if anyone plans on attending.  There is a bunch of great presentations happening from a variety of professionals and allied agencies over the two days.

November 7-8, 2012 – A Victim Centered Approach to Investigating and Prosecuting Sexual Violence
Presented by The Office of the Attorney General And the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault
No Registration Fee! For more information contact Melissa McMenemy at or 804-692-0592. Topics Include:♦How Trauma Impacts Victims ♦Trafficking in Sex♦Sexual Violence and Substances ♦Working with the Elderly ♦SARTs ♦Sex Workers as Victims ♦Sexual Violence in Detention Centers ♦SANE Exams.

Agenda for the conference

A Victim Centered Approach to Investigating and Prosecuting Sexual Violence Cases – Agenda

7:30am-8:00am – Registration
8:00am-8:15am – Welcome: Gallery Room – Welcome/Intros/House Keeping
8:30am-10:15am – Plenary: Gallery Room – Understanding Sexual Violence and Abuse; the Impact on Survivors by Carol Olson, LPC, ATR-BC,  CSAC and Melanie Gardner, MA, ATR-BC, LPC, BAT, LMHP
10:15am-10:30am – Break
10:30am-12:00pm – Plenary: Gallery Room – Intimidation of victims and prosecution by John Wilinson, AEquitas
12:00pm-1:15pm – Lunch (on your own)
1:15pm-2:30pm – Break Out: A1 Gallery Room – Sexual Violence and Substances by John Wilkinson, AEquitas
1:15pm-2:30pm – Break Out: A2 Mtn. Shadows Rm. – Our work with the Latino and Other Immigrant Communities by Giovanna Carney, RCASA
2:30pm-2:45pm – Break
2:45pm-4:00pm – Break Out: B1 Gallery Room – Team Centered Approach; Supporting Special Victims by Denise Lunsford, CA, Det. Sgt. Terry Walls, Susan Painter V/W Adv. Albemarle County
2:45pm-4:00pm – Break Out: B2 Mtn. Shadows Rm. – Sexual Assault Response Teams (SARTS) by Kristina Vadas, DCJS and Kristen Pine, YWCA of South Hampton Roads

Thursday, November 8, 2012

7:45am-8:15am – Registration
8:15am-8:30am – Welcome: Gallery Room – Project Horizon Overview with Judy Casteele, Director
8:30am-10:30am – Plenary: Gallery Room – Human Trafficking: The Virginia Experience – Erin Kulpa, OAG
10:30am-10:45am – Break
10:45am-12:00pm – Break Out: C1 Mtn. Shadows Rm. – Elder Sexual Assault by Lisa Furr, VCU
10:45am-12:00pm – Break Out: C2 Gallery Room – It’s Not All About You; Conducting a Victim Centered Sexual Assault Exam by Betty Fisher, SANE Nurse
12:00pm-1:15pm – Lunch
1:15pm-2:30pm – Break Out: D1 Gallery Room – E-Quaintance Sexual Assault: Sexual Violence and Developmental Differences in the Technotronic Era by Laura Glasscock, ACTS SAVAS
1:00pm-2:30pm – Break Out: D2 Mtn. Shadows Rm. – Addressing Sexual Violence in Detention Settings by Cynthia Totten, Just Detention International
2:30pm-2:40pm – Break
2:40pm-3:40pm – Break Out: E1 Mtn. Shadows Rm. – Protective Orders 2011 Legislative Changes Equal Access; Equal Protection by Hunter Fisher, OAG
2:40pm-3:40pm – Break Out: E2 Gallery Room – Dispelling Myths in Sexual Violence by Jasmine Brock, Charlottesville SARA

Some interesting Research and Literature for Advocates and Providers to check out…


Research / Literature

Preventing Children’s Exposure to Violence: The Defending Childhood Initiative
by Sarah B. Berson, Jolene Hernon and Beth Pearsall
An NIJ-funded evaluation takes a close look at communities developing strategies to address childhood exposure to violence. See attached PDF file labeled 238485.

New summer 2012 issue of Age in Action, published by the Virginia Center on Aging and the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services can be found at

Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives is the latest research report from Common Sense Media’s Program for the Study of Children and Media. We surveyed over 1,000 13- to 17-year-olds nationally to understand how they perceive social media (like Facebook and Twitter) affects their relationships and feelings about themselves. Read highlights from the study in the info graphic below, and visit our research page to download the full report.

The Perfect Shade of Change: Resources for Sexual Violence Preventionists Creating Safe & Healthy Communities
This information packet provides guidance to prevention practitioners at local, state, tribal, territory, and national organizations to work more effectively toward the goal of eliminating sexual violence in their communities.


Virginia’s Sexual Assault Crisis Centers are here to help

In 2010, Sexual Assault Crisis Centers in Virginia…

  • responded to 61,860 hotline calls
  • offered 50,949 hours of advocacy services to 4,903 adults
  • provided 26,570 hours of advocacy services to 2,123 children

Survivors of sexual violence who have received advocacy services from Virginia’s Sexual Assault Crisis Centers have said the following:

“I feel so strong when I am here. I feel safe, supported, and not judged.   I have more tools to help me be safe and happy in my life.”

 “My children are getting the help they need.”

 “Everything about this experience has been positive. I have learned more about myself, who I am, and what I really want in life for me and my children and have been able to set goals for myself to better our future!

  I loved my advocate. She was there for me from the beginning of it all, causing me to feel supported!!!

 “The support group was the most positive experience. I really, really had a need to hear from other women who are survivors of sexual abuse.”

  “It’s rewarding to feel good about myself and the services I’ve received have given me back my confidence.”

 Source of all data on this fact sheet: VAdata: The Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Data Collection System, 2010.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month – Virginia Facts


Sexual assault affects every community in Virginia

 Nearly 1 in 5 women have been raped in their lifetime while 1 in 71 men have been raped in their lifetime. 1

 Approximately 80% of female victims experienced their first rape before the age of 25 and almost half ex­perienced the first rape before age 18 (30% between 11-17 years old and 12% at or before the age of 10). 28% of male victims of rape were first raped when they were 10 years old or younger.2

 Sexual assault profoundly affects children and teens

 56% of youth report experiences of sexual assault and coercion. 

In 2010, Sexual Assault Crisis Centers in Virginia…3

  • responded to 61,860 hotline calls
  • offered 50,949 hours of advocacy services to 4,903 adults
  • provided 26,570 hours of advocacy services to 2,123 children


You can help too…

  Three out of four people affected by sexual violence turn to family and friends for help before contacting a Sexual Assault Crisis Center.4


1 -2  National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), 2010. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published December, 2011.

3-4      VAdata: The Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Data Collection System, 2010.

NSVRC Releases New Prevention Report

The NSVRC has released the Prevention Assessment Year 2 Report: Innovations in Prevention.   This report was prepared for the NSVRC by Stephanie M. Townsend, PhD.   Additionally PreventConnect provided additional support to augment the assessment and include an examination of how innovations diffuse.

 This second phase of the NSVRC’s Prevention Assessment project focused on interviews with innovative prevention programs and a diffusion survey to document how innovations have spread throughout the sexual violence prevention field.  The emphasis of this assessment was on how programs are thinking about primary prevention and the processes that allowed innovation to develop.  This report contains findings from that assessment.

Podcasts conducted by PreventConnect with some of the programs interviewed for the report can be found in the following link:

The Year 1 report of the Prevention Assessment Project, released in 2011, can be found here.

If you have question about this report or the prevention assessment project, please contact

*Note: reposted from

The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey

The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) has published it’s survey on sexual violence and intimate partner violence.   The continuing incidents yearly, monthly, daily, and every minute may shock you.  They found that on average: 

24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States.

Annually that equals more than 12 million women and men.

More than 1 million women are raped in a year and over 6 million women and men are victims of stalking in a year.

These findings emphasize that sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence are important and widespread public health problems in the United States.  This would be considered an epidemic if a disease. 

 NISVS is an on¬going, nationally representative survey that assesses experiences of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence among adult women and men in the United States. It measures lifetime victimization for these types of violence as well as victimization in the 12 months prior to the survey. The survey goes beyond counting acts of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence by assessing the range of violence experienced by victims and the impact of that victimization. The report also includes the first ever simultaneous national and state-level prevalence estimates of these forms of violence for all states.

 Findings from the 2010 Summary Report will be available online

Advocate for Written Policies for Law Enforcement on Responding to Sexual Violence

What is the issue?

Law enforcement officers play a critical role in responding to cases of sexual violence.  They may be among the first people that a victim talks to after the assault, and the victim’s experience in that interaction may determine her or his decision to move forward on reporting the crime and cooperating with prosecution.  In addition, law enforcement officers are responsible for the collection of evidence, the victim interview, the follow-up investigation and the interrogation of the alleged offender.  Unless this duty is handled comprehensively, thoroughly and consistently, there is the risk that key evidence will be missed, tainted or lost, hampering prosecution of sexual offenses.

Due to the complexity, trauma, and potential physical injury involved in a sexual assault, a consistent and comprehensive law enforcement response is critical to a victim’s safety, health and well-being.  Clear knowledge and understanding of sexual assault will also assist in thorough and accurate evidence collection, assisting prosecution of alleged offenders.  However, Virginia does not require law enforcement agencies to have a written policy on responding to situations in which sexual violence has occurred.  As a result, law enforcement response to sexual violence is often inconsistent in different parts of the state and even, at times, within jurisdictions.

A recent survey by the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) showed that 49% of responding agencies did not have a written policy on responding to sexual violence situations.  This survey also demonstrated numerous inconsistencies across jurisdictions regarding such issues as use of polygraphs on victims and offenders, when and how Physical Evidence Recovery Kits (PERKs) are authorized, how often officers are trained on sexual violence issues, and collaboration with other agencies in responding to sexual offenses.

Legislation is already in place requiring written policies for responding to situations of domestic violence (§ 19.2-81.4).  The response to sexual violence should be held to the same standard.

What does VSDVAA want to do?

VSDVAA wants to work with the General Assembly and DCJS to enact legislation that would require law enforcement agencies to establish and implement written policies on responding to situations in which sexual violence has occurred.  This legislation would not require each law enforcement agency to establish the same policies and procedures, but it would require specific factors that each agency’s procedures must include.

What is our goal?

Sexual assault continues to be one of the most underreported crimes in Virginia and in the nation.  Enhancing law enforcement response and ensuring consistent and appropriate response within and across jurisdictions may increase a victim’s willingness to come forward and make a report.  Consistent and thorough evidence collection will also lead to increased prosecutions and convictions, and will ultimately lead to safer communities.

For more information, contact Jennifer Woolley at VSDVAA

434-979-9002      866-3-VSDVAA

reposted from the Action Alliance website: 

Stalking: Know it, Name it, Stop it

January is National Stalking Awareness Month, a time to focus on a crime that affects

3.4 million victims a year.

1 This year’s theme—“Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.”—challenges the nation to fight this dangerous crime by learning more about it.

Stalking is a crime in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, yet many victims and criminal justice professionals underestimate its seriousness and impact. In one of five cases, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims,

2 and stalking is one of the significant risk factors for femicide (homicide of women) in abusive relationships.

3 Victims suffer anxiety, social dysfunction, and severe depression at much higher rates than the general population, and many lose time from work or have to move as a result of their victimization.

4Stalking is difficult to recognize, investigate, and prosecute. Unlike other crimes, stalking is not a single, easily identifiable crime but a series of acts, a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause that person fear. Stalking may take many forms, such as assaults, threats, vandalism, burglary, or animal abuse, as well as unwanted cards, calls, gifts, or visits. One in four victims reports that the stalker uses technology, such as computers, global positioning system devices, or hidden cameras, to track the victim’s daily activities.

5 Stalkers fit no standard psychological profile, and many stalkers follow their victims from one jurisdiction to another, making it difficult for authorities to investigate and prosecute their crimes.

Communities that understand stalking, however, can support victims and combat the crime.

If more people learn to recognize stalking, we have a better chance to protect victims and prevent tragedies.

Your local rape crisis or domestic violence center can offer information, resources, or help.

For additional resources to help promote National Stalking Awareness Month, please visit  and 

1 Baum et al.,

Stalking Victimization in the United States

, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs,

Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2009, (accessed September 29, 2009).

2 Ibid.

3 Jacquelyn C. Campbell et al., “Risk Factors for Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results from a Multi-site Case Control Study,”

American Journal of Public Health

93 (2003): 7.

4 Ibid.

5 Baum,

Stalking Victimization in the United States.

Get your Prevention ON: Introduction to Primary Prevention

September 23, 2011  9:00AM- 4:00PM
Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley (1217 Grove Avenue Radford, VA 24141) will host an introduction to primary prevention.

Primary Prevention programs are focused on reducing or eliminating the first-time perpetration of sexual violence and intimate partner violence (SV/IPV).

For information and registration contact Jonathan at or 804-377-0335.

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