Advancing the Trauma-Informed Approach to Sexual Assault: New Challenges, New Expectations
In this workshop, the presenter will share lessons learned while crisscrossing the country addressing trauma-informed sexual assault reforms during 300+ training and consultation events in 48 states and on 100 university campuses and military installations across the country. The progress that has been made by instituting trauma-informed approaches for sexual assault response and investigations has been significant and inspirational, and at the same time there must be an understanding of the limits of this approach and cautions to ensure proper training. The presenter will facilitate a discussion of this progress and recent challenges concerning the presumption of innocence and the due process rights for those reported to have committed an offense. Attendees will leave being able to answer the question: Can we be trauma-informed for victims while still ensuring the critical rights for those reported to have committed an offense?
Animal Abuse + Family Violence: Investigation, Prosecution, & Service Strategies to Keep Families Safe
Research has well-documented the link between animal abuse and family violence. With 68% of American homes having pets, family violence first responders and prosecutors should understand how pets are targeted to gain silence and compliance of victims, which can impact successful investigations and prosecutions. This session will explore the latest research on the importance of addressing animal abuse in family violence dynamics, how agencies can work together, and investigation and prosecution trial strategies. No abusive photos will be shown.
The Art of Perception: Seeing What Matters
This workshop will give law enforcement and other professionals involved in combating violence against women the necessary tools to enhance perception and communication in both investigation and critical response. While the use of technology in curtailing violence is prevalent, it is human interaction, comprising both inquiry and response, and effective communication that is the foundation of successful crime fighting initiatives and reducing recidivism. Learning to analyze works of art in this interactive workshop will enable attendees to better understanding victims’ perspectives and help to formulate the most effective responses to each incident of violence. Recognition of patterns and the ability to articulate changes in behavior are critical skills in understanding cyclical violence and in the effort to break destructive behavioral patterns. Works of art will also be used to dismantle biases and long held assumptions that can impede both optimal decision making and the fostering of collaborative efforts among law enforcement and social services agencies to curtail violent incidents. Initially designed for the New York City Police Department, The Art of Perception is now a component in domestic violence and homicide investigators’ curricula nationwide and will provide attendees with a renewed sense of inquiry and perceptiveness that will be instrumental in their practice to combat violence against women.
Black Girlhood, Interrupted: Pornography’s Impact on Sexual Violence in the Lives of Black Girls & Women
The docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” left viewers asking: how could a popular singer produce child pornography that featured degrading acts involving Black girls and women? The reality is that these images are pervasive in the media and culture. This workshop will feature “Let me tell ya’ll ‘bout Black chicks: Images of Black women in pornography,” a searing documentary that unpacks the historical origins of the images found in contemporary pornography and identifies how these representations promote sexual violence against Black girls. With this understanding, attendees will learn concrete and practical strategies to assist Black sexual assault survivors in criminal justice and mental health settings. Specifically, attendees will identify prevalence rates and risk factors for sexual victimization in the lives of Black girls and women and will learn prevention and intervention strategies that are evidenced-based and culturally responsive.
Bringing the Truth to Human Trafficking Investigations: Utilizing Polygraphs
Jesse De Leon
In this workshop, the Texas Department of Public Safety Polygraph Unit & Criminal Investigations Division will present innovative approaches to human trafficking investigations through the use of polygraphs. The presenters will identify the various applications of polygraphs to initiate and/or further human trafficking investigations with valuable information and actionable intelligence. Attendees will learn how to understand the legal aspects of polygraphs, including the admissibility of information obtained during a polygraph examination in order to help stop, prevent, or deter victimization.
Building a Trauma-Informed Response to Violent Crime in Indian Country
Leslie A. Hagen
The criminal justice system is now paying attention to the effects of trauma on the brain and on memory. The manner in which a crime victim is interviewed can dramatically impact the answers she is able to provide and her willingness to have her case prosecuted. This workshop will address the effects of trauma, from a prosecutor’s perspective, on victims and witnesses. The presenter will also provide best practice examples for incorporating a trauma-informed law enforcement and prosecution response into violent crime cases in Indian Country. A tribal strangulation case will serve as the backdrop for this workshop and will illustrate what can happen when poor interviewing practices and report writing occur during the course of an investigation.
Challenges & Solutions for Policing, Prosecution, & Accountability in Rural Communities
This workshop will focus on issues unique to rural communities in dealing with challenges inherent to the investigation, case preparation, prosecution, and post-sentence management of domestic violence cases. The presenter will focus on some of the key legal and logistical issues that make assisting survivors in these jurisdictions challenging. Some areas of discussion will include: the “everyone knows each other” syndrome and how this impacts probable cause determinations; realistic issues with protective orders; ways to encourage retention in isolated offices; effective analysis of security concerns from an unbiased source; less privacy for DV survivors; underreporting; relationships or familiarity with health care providers among law enforcement officials, which may affect victim willingness to discuss violence or limit the extent to which a claim is investigated; finding an affordable lawyer or legal aid; and less familiarity with issues of domestic violence and appropriate responses. The presenter will provide strategies and ideas to overcome these challenges.
Coercive Control to Violence: A Time Bomb that Kills Women
The current approach to assessing risk and prosecuting intimate partner violence is flawed, because it does not address the underlying dynamic in the most dangerous cases: coercive control. This pattern of controlling behavior, including sexual assault and terroristic threats, often accompanies and forecasts physical violence but is dismissed until there are physical injuries. The criminal justice system has taken an episodic approach, with abuse only reaching the level of "crime" when physical violence is “provable”. As a result, the smarter and more dangerous the perpetrator, the more easily he traps his victim without physically assaulting her. This workshop will discuss how dismissing patterns of non-physical abuse and minimizing sexual assault means victims may be trapped for years, even decades, before the hell they are living becomes a prosecutable crime. Without recognizing the pattern of control and providing victims with protection, we are colluding with perpetrators to trap women in relationships that they cannot safely leave.
Collaboration Safety: Effective Safety Planning & Lethality Assessment
Safety planning and lethality assessment are important aspects of an advocate’s job. Safety plans should be individualized, holistic, and rooted in empowerment. It is essential that every survivor’s unique plan is tailored to include technology, assessment of lethality, and emotional/psychological safety. This workshop will explore various safety planning models that will help the advocate and victim collaborate on physical, emotional, and psychological safety for all family members impacted by violence. The presenter will also discuss non-clinical lethality assessment tools and human-centric, trauma-informed methods to compassionately discuss such difficult topics. Attendees will learn how to identify and leverage existing client assets in the safety planning and lethality assessment process.
The Cost of Caring: Out of Sight, Never Out of Mind
For so many of us, "out of sight, out of mind" is an impossibility when it comes to our work. We were meant to do this, but sometimes it feels so overwhelming that it seems the only option is to walk away. Vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue are common for those who work in the criminal justice system because of our frequent contact with victims and abusers. Being exposed to the worst of humanity in our daily professional lives results in lasting effects on all of us. Without managing our secondary trauma, these cases can affect our personal lives, and the desire to do this work can be significantly affected to the point of eventual burnout. This workshop will explore ways in which those involved in abuse cases can implement techniques to help deal with the lasting emotional impact of these cases.
Court Ordered Abuse: Violence & Long-Lasting Trauma of Women Forced to Co-Parent with Their Abuser
Recent new articles have highlighted the increasingly common occurrence of women being forced into violent co-parenting relationships with their abuser. In many instances, women were ignored as they tried to file for protective orders or showed existing protective orders or fresh bruises. The presenters will analyze three cases of violence perpetrated against women during child exchanges and discuss how the violence was targeted through proxies such as children, friends, and family. Attendees will review the red flags and warning signs of this type of domestic violence and identify ways in which to prevent it from happening.
Creating Culturally Responsive & Holistic Abusive Partner Interventions
Communities across the country are looking for new ways to include abusive partner intervention in their coordinated community response to domestic violence and are in need of flexible, holistic approaches that reflect the strengths and the needs of particular communities. The presenters have worked with jurisdictions across the country to help program facilitators, criminal and civil judges, advocates, probation, and other stakeholders develop new and strengthened strategies to increase their engagement around issues of abusive partner accountability, engagement, and victim safety. This workshop will identify national practices that value culture and community, as well as help attendees apply guiding principles to their individual jurisdictions.
Criminal Interrogation: 2020 & Beyond, Pt. 1 & 2
Violent acts against women in the U.S. are often unwitnessed and unreported, drastically decreasing the effective prosecution of cases. Even worse, law enforcement interview and interrogation beliefs, training, and tactics often contribute to more failed prosecutions, further traumatization of victims, and sometimes even false confessions of suspects. This workshop will use several homicide case studies to analyze the flaws of traditional interrogation tactics compared to an evidence-based approach to interrogation. The presenter will also discuss the current legal landscape of interview and interrogation so attendees can maximize every possible legal advantage in 2020 and beyond.
The Cycle of Bullying & Intimate Partner Violence: Impact on Culturally Diverse Populations
Bullying and intimate partner violence are experienced by diverse cultural populations within the U.S. and around the world. Research indicates that the cycle of violence can be broken through increased awareness and appropriate intervention. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, men who were bullies or the victims of bullying are four times more likely to abuse their partners, and intimate partner violence is directly linked to childhood bullying. This workshop will address the correlation between bullying and IPV and will provide professionals a greater understanding of its impact on culturally-diverse populations. The presenters will discuss the unique perspective of the added barriers to reporting experienced by diverse groups specifically in the context of the power and control and the continued cycle of bullying and IPV. Attendees will learn tools and strategies that are instrumental in preventing and breaking the cycle. The presenters will also review strategies to manage bias and insensitive judgmental behaviors when dealing with individuals who are culturally different.
Disarming Domestic Abusers: Analyzing Current Court Practices
Everytown for Gun Safety has conducted extensive research into the deadly intersection of guns and domestic violence, including a two-year investigation into how state court judges apply gun prohibition and surrender laws in domestic violence cases and the common gaps in judicial practice that may place survivors at elevated risk. For this project, Everytown analyzed hundreds of case files and in-court observations by volunteer court monitors and identified widespread failures by courts to issue firearm surrender orders, inform parties of firearm prohibition laws, and monitor abusers' compliance with court ordered firearm surrender. Everytown's project leaders will share the lessons of this research, along with best practices and steps that judges, attorneys, law enforcement, and advocates can take to safeguard survivors in the courthouse.
Dissociation in Adult Survivors of Trauma
Dissociation is a common response to both single traumatic events and to chronic trauma such as domestic violence, childhood abuse, prolonged combat exposure, and human trafficking. Types of dissociative symptoms include: depersonalization- feeling unreal or disconnected from one's body; amnesia for traumatic events in the absence of drugs, alcohol, or brain injury; and identity confusion or fragmentation. Most training programs in mental health, law enforcement and other disciplines do not provide adequate training in the recognition of dissociation. This workshop will discuss how to ask about symptoms of dissociation during an assessment, investigation, or interview using practical, specific examples. The presenter will describe four different meanings of the word 'dissociation' in the literature; confusion can arise when it isn't clear which meaning a person has in mind. Besides having symptoms of dissociation, a person can meet criteria for one of the dissociative disorders; the presenter will review these briefly but will concentrate primarily on symptoms, rather than diagnoses.
Domestic Violence High-Risk Team & Protective Orders (Lunch Session)
Too often there is an unnecessary gap between civil protective orders and the criminal cases that are inevitably connected. This lunch session will provide the processes involved in an Applicant obtaining a protective order, how the orders and criminal cases are flagged high-risk for lethality, and how to use these processes as tools to advance the prosecution of criminal cases. Presented by the lead prosecutor for the Protective Order division, the lead prosecutor of High Risk criminal cases, and the High-Risk counselor from Travis County, this workshop also provides a general overview of the Domestic Violence High-Risk Team Model, the benefits of using this model to properly identify and prosecute high-risk, and how to collaborate across multiple agencies within the community to coordinate Victim safety and successful prosecution.
Effective & Ethical Healthcare Interventions for Patients Experiencing Human Trafficking
This workshop will address interventions that healthcare professionals can apply for the patient who is known or suspected to be experiencing human trafficking. The presenter will go beyond screening and discuss specific care that can be provided in a healthcare setting. While the content is focused on medical professionals identifying and providing interventions, advocates can benefit from getting an in-depth look at what appropriate health care can look like to better support survivors. Law enforcement and prosecutors can bolster their understanding of how documented observations, diagnoses, care provided, and patient responses in the medical record could assist in investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases.
Effective Report Writing in Gender Based Violence Cases
Gender-based and family violence crimes are pattern crimes that require careful documentation. This workshop will examine how police, medical, and other official reports have the potential to make or break a case and either empower or re-victimize. The presenter will explore descriptive language and share tools for writing clear, complete, and accurate narratives.
Ending the Backlog: Development & Implementation of a Statewide Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System
Following a national awakening to the issue of untested sexual assault kits throughout the country, Indiana developed its own unique sexual assault kit tracking system. This workshop will describe the process followed by a multidisciplinary team entrusted to complete this task. The presenters will emphasize the importance of the multidisciplinary effort and working with the legislature in a proactive, effective manner. The presenters will also describe the chain of events leading to the creation and implementation of the tracking system, including legislative study sessions and subsequently enacted laws, audits conducted to analyze the scope of the problem, working with a vendor to create the software, and eventual implementation of the system. The team will be candid in describing both the successes and obstacles encountered in the process.
Ending The Game: Understanding Psychological Coercion in Commercial Sexual Exploitation & Exploring One Promising Solution
Over the last decade, thousands of domestic sex trafficking victims have been identified and offered services. Though there is little evidence-based research on the mental health treatment of victims of human trafficking, one disturbing trend cannot be ignored: victims oftentimes exhibit strong attachments to their trafficker and/or the lifestyle of commercial sexual exploitation. This workshop will highlight a survivor-written coercion-resiliency curriculum that is being utilized in dozens of victim-serving facilities in 23 states with extremely promising results in addressing and minimizing the effects of psychological coercion in trafficking. This workshop is recommended for clinicians, survivor-leaders, and all professionals working with victims of commercial sexual exploitation in any capacity.
Finding Hope in the Courthouse: Nashville’s Court-Based Family Justice Center
The Jean Crowe Advocacy Center (JCAC) is a unique resource that provides a Family Justice Center model within one of the most unwelcoming places for a victim of crime: the courthouse. The JCAC was developed in response to Nashville’s Safety & Accountability Audit that found multiple safety concerns in the courthouse and throughout the criminal justice system. The JCAC provides a services and support in a safe and secure location for clients who are waiting for court. This workshop will look at this distinctive model that provides innovative advocacy services for clients, as well as partner connections with the District Attorney's office and non-profits while improving victim safety and ensuring offender accountability.
Forensic Evaluation of Gunshot Wounds: Applications for Domestic & Officer-Involved Shootings, Pt. 1 & 2
Medical and scientific literature has repeatedly documented that the non-forensic healthcare provider has a miserable ability to correctly interpret gunshot wounds. The "Interpretation of Fatal, Multiple, and Exiting Gunshot Wounds by Trauma Specialists" found that clinical physicians have a great deal of difficulty in correctly distinguishing between entrance and exit wounds. What are the reasons for these misinterpretations? Their opinions were based upon the size of the wound, not its physical characteristics. Physical characteristics will tell you if the wound is an entrance or exit, the range of fire, and if the injuries are consistent with the history given by the victim. To avoid the misinterpretation and therefore the misdiagnosis of gunshot wounds, police, nurses, physicians, and prosecutors need additional forensic training. The knowledge gained in this workshop will assist attendees in evaluation, diagnosis, investigation, and prosecution of gunshot wounds, including domestic and officer-involved shootings.
Funding Opportunities Through the Office for Victims of Crime (Lunch Session)
Join representatives from the Office for Victims of Crime in an engaging lunch discussion to learn about different funding opportunities through the OVC to support programs serving victims of all crime, including trafficking, elder abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, mass violence and terrorism, and fraud. Attendees will learn how to access the more than $3 billion in funding that Congress has authorized OVC to expend on victim service programming over the last several years. Specifically, the presenters will discuss VOCA formula funding that is distributed to and accessible through the states, trafficking funding, tribal funding, and discretionary program funding that is directly awarded from OVC to grantees to support a range of victim service programs.
Holding the Framework: Working with Survivors of Multi-Abuse Trauma
There are few things more polarizing in social services than what approach to use when you’re working with a survivor who also has lived experience with mental health issues or substance use. Survivors of multi-abuse trauma are often interacting with providers in multiple fields who all have their own distinct ways of providing services. It can be confusing, frustrating, and discouraging to hear these different messages, often in direct opposition to each other, about the best ways to heal and move forward. This workshop will discuss the connections between gender-based violence, mental health, and substance use, how we can better work together to support survivors of multi-abuse trauma, and how vicarious trauma moves us away from connection.
How Domestic Violence Fatality Review Impacts & Informs Practice
For decades, research from the Denver Metro Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team (DMDFRT) has identified risk factors and red flags present in deaths that occurred in the context of domestic violence in Colorado. This multidisciplinary team works collaboratively to identify potential gaps in services and implement strategies to help prevent future domestic violence-related deaths, without placing blame or pointing fingers. In 2017, a new Colorado law resulted in the creation of a statewide Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board (DVFRB) and the formation of additional Domestic Violence Fatality Review Teams (DVFRT) across the state. DMDVFRT staff have been consulting with the Colorado Office of the Attorney General to support the work of the Colorado DVFRB and offer technical assistance to communities interested in forming DVFRTs. This workshop will review local, state, and national research related to domestic violence fatality review, introduce attendees to the purpose and process of a DVFRT, and discuss strategies for forming a DVFRT and reviewing cases involving domestic violence-related fatalities.
How Not to Lose an SVU case
In this fast-paced workshop, the presenter will share her wisdom and experience in handling more than 3,000 SVU cases in her 30-year career as an SVU prosecutor. She will walk through each stage of the criminal justice system in a guided discussion with attendees. Common challenges in sexual assault and domestic violence cases will be discussed, as well as solutions to eliminate these obstacles. The presenter will uncover the best practices standards for district attorneys, with an emphasis on proactive pretrial action by investigators and prosecutors. The focus will be on real case scenarios and research on persuading jurors. Methods for avoiding common pitfalls and making impactful presentations will be discussed. Court recordings of a real trial will be analyzed and critiqued.
How to Seize Smartphones & Preserve Data (Lunch Session)
Everyone has encountered smartphones in their realm of support. Whether you are guiding someone on how to collect and preserve the data or doing the collection yourself, this lunch session will greatly increase the odds of getting the data/information you need from these devices. Attendees will learn how to ensure maximum data extraction from smartphones and gain insight into various encryption obstacles, as well as how to combat them and preserve smartphone data.
Identifying & Preventing Bias: Through the Lens of Diverse Populations & Law Enforcement
This workshop will explore stereotypes and assumptions that are made not only about victims of crime, but law enforcement as well. These biases often serve as barriers in communication and impact the effectiveness of services provided. Understanding how bias affects our decision-making can increase the effectiveness of law enforcement’s services on diverse populations, including Limited English Proficient individuals and immigrants. The presenters will discuss cases such as Larry Nassar, Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, R. Kelly, and Jeffrey Epstein to highlight specific examples of positive and negative bias. Attendees will leave with new resources and strategies to overcome biases and improve communication.
Indigenous Victims of Trafficking in North America
Foreign and indigenous victims in the U.S. are underserved and many times a misunderstood population. There is a big gap in understanding different indigenous communities, which are often lumped into one nationality when encountering the U.S. legal system. Understanding the wide diverse cultural traditions of indigenous communities and providing a trauma-informed victim approach for indigenous populations is crucial. This workshop will discuss incorporating culture into a victim-centered approach to working with indigenous trafficking survivors from Mexico and U.S. and share helpful resources for working with survivors from these communities.
Innovative Civil & Criminal Partnerships: The Safe Families Program
Illinois Law allows complaining witnesses in domestic violence cases to obtain comprehensive orders of protection in conjunction with criminal prosecutions. For complaining witnesses who have children in common with their abuser, relief can include child support, allocation of decision making responsibility, possession of children, and a specific, and potentially restricted, visitation schedule. Access to these remedies provides stability, increasing the odds that victims will be able to maintain separation from their abuser. In 2017, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office partnered with Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services (LAS) to ensure that complaining witnesses with children in common with their abuser could receive high-quality direct representation on child related legal remedies. The program they created, the Safe Families Program (SFP), has Assistant State's Attorney's prosecuting in tandem with LAS attorneys who are providing direct representation to victims. Both the criminal prosecution and the "civil" legal remedies are heard in conjunction in criminal courtrooms. The results of the program have been significant. Not only are victims leaving with comprehensive, nuanced orders of protection that protect them and their children, SFP has also increased the rate in which complaining witnesses continue to participate in criminal cases to their conclusion, an ongoing challenge in domestic violence prosecutions.
Intimate Partner Violence & Child Abuse in Custody Cases: Challenging the Family Courts
The journey to healing after experiencing intimate partner violence or sexual assault is and fraught with many obstacles. Being the protective parent of a child who has been physically or sexually abused can be equally traumatic and difficult, as the parent is often met with institutional bias in the family court system simply for trying to protect the child. This workshop will discuss the increasing commonality for abusers to claim “parental alienation” when faced with allegations of abuse during a custody battle. Many family law attorneys, amicus attorneys, court evaluators, and judges accept the construct of parental alienation and the accompanying recommendation of family reunification programs without question. The resulting outcome is frequently detrimental to the protective parents (often the mothers) and can even be lethal to the children. Because protective parents are often denied the opportunity to present witnesses and evidence during the custody case and are prohibited through court orders to speak publicly about their experience, their voices are rarely heard. This workshop will help attendees feel confident to advocate for protective parents, both in and out of the courtroom.
Investigating & Prosecuting Violent Crime in Tribal Communities: Working with Victims in Current & Cold Cases, Pt. 1 & 2
This workshop will focus on the investigation and prosecution of serious violent crimes by tribes working with their federal and state partners, as well as strategies for cold case investigations and working with victims. The presenters will highlight current projects and resources at the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to expand the prosecution of serious and violent crimes involving Native Americans and Alaska Natives. This workshop will summarize what BJA is learning about what tribal courts and systems need to consider when handling these cases and discuss core prosecution strategies. The second part of the workshop will highlight efforts of BJA’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, which has helped solve many cold case sexual assaults, murders, and related violent crimes. The presenters will provide information on strategies to work cold case investigations and review what has been learned about serial, violent offenders and implications for tribal justice systems. This workshop will also offer in-depth training and discussion on reporting of cases and victim cooperation and strategies that are both trauma-informed and victim-oriented.
The Judicial Language Project: Using Research to Persuade Media & Courts to Avoid Harmful Language
This workshop will provide research-based examples of how the language used to describe violence against women can contribute to the harm women endure in society. Problems such as dual subject, needless eroticism, active/passive voice, and vagueness can cause readers and listeners to perceive violence as harmless or even enjoyable. The presenter will show examples of problematic language and offer more appropriate alternatives. The presenter developed this program as a first-of-its-kind project in 2004 and has since trained journalists and court officials around the country to better understand the power of language, the importance of using and avoiding certain terminology, and how language can help prevent or contribute to the added harm victims experience in the aftermath of violence.
Labor Trafficking in the U.S. & Successful Local Investigations
In this workshop, attendees will hear from national experts about the various types of labor trafficking happening across the U.S. The presenters will also discuss case studies of successful local investigations of family-based labor trafficking, hospitality industry labor trafficking, and restaurant-based labor trafficking. Attendees will learn how to detect and gather evidence in various types of labor trafficking cases.
Leading with Heart: Trauma-Informed Supervision
Every day, victim advocates stand with survivors of intimate partner violence as they share their experiences of trauma, abuse, and strength. Supporting survivors on their journey can impact advocates and result in vicarious trauma, stress, and compassion fatigue. This workshop will focus on how supervisors can create spaces to support advocate wellness and prevent the development of compassion fatigue, through trauma-informed supervision. Attendees will walk away with tools to engage with staff and create environments that support work and wellness.
Military Sexual Trauma
One of the most complicated forms of trauma that a person can experience is Military Sexual Trauma (MST). MST is broadly defined and very common, but its consequences are highly damaging, including not only PTSD, but also depression, eating disorders, homelessness, and suicidality. Moreover, it often ends military careers abruptly. This workshop will discuss the definition of MST, its prevalence, the context in which it occurs, and its effects. The presenter will address the multiple forms of betrayal that are involved and the differences between MST as experienced by women and men, as well as discuss treatment of MST and how survivors can heal from it.
Monitoring Transactions: How Financial Institutions Identify & Report Human Trafficking (Lunch Session)
This lunch session will examine the role financial institutions play in identifying and reporting potential human trafficking to law enforcement. The presenter will provide an overview of the regulatory mandate that financial institutions have to report suspicious account activity, which includes a brief description on the laws and regulations that govern financial institutions. The presenter will also highlight the transactional red flags that financial institutions consider when monitoring for potential human trafficking. Finally, attendees will learn the reporting process that financial institutions follow to alert law enforcement of suspicious account activity that may involve human trafficking.
“No Face, No Case”: Responding to Witness Intimidation in Domestic Violence Cases
Witness intimidation in cases of intimate partner violence is a significant problem, and research suggests that as many as 80% of cases that reach court involve victims that recant or refuse to testify. Successful prosecution is also hampered by the constraints imposed by the Crawford v. Washington decision. Offenders have a firm understanding of these constraints and leverage witness intimidation to secure a dismissal. Even the most dedicated professionals cannot effectively address the problem of witness intimidation unless they know the specifics of how it occurs, how to investigate it, and how to respond in a way that protects the witness while holding the offender accountable for both the original crime and for the efforts to obstruct justice. Using several examples of recorded audio and written letters, Attendees will witness strategies offenders use to compel victims to recant or fail to appear in court. Attendees will see how easily the offender’s “Private Face” can be exposed and how their actions can be leveraged in an IPV criminal investigation and subsequent prosecution.
Prison Warden by Day, Prisoner at Night: Experiencing Domestic Violence as an Army LTC Military Officer
The Army uniform, military police insignia, and LTC rank on her collar provided Sue Parisher the strength she needed to run the Army's prison in Germany back in 2001. The uniform hid her insecurities, lack of self-worth, and anxiety due to years of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse by her military officer spouse. Sharing personal accounts of her abuse while on active duty, the presenter provides a common but not often discussed journey of how a person with significant authority can become victim to horrors that occur behind closed doors. The presenter will explain how the military environment impacted her ability to say no, as well as how it strengthened the ability of her abuser to control her silence. The presenter will share how after leaving her abuser, she slowly started realizing the thoughts in her mind were not her own, and how the long-term emotional abuse reshaped the way she thought and acted years after being away from her abuser.
Project 180: The New Way to Investigate & File on Traffickers While Diverting Prostitution Sellers
In Harris County, Texas, a team of prosecutors, analysts,a social worker, and an investigator work together out of the District Attorney's Office to combat trafficking by diverting prostitution sellers while investigating misdemeanor seller cases to develop trafficking suspects. The Director of Trafficking Intelligence, along with a team of analysts, review misdemeanor selling cases as they come in to develop trafficking suspects out of databases, social media, and digital evidence to file felony offenses without the necessity of an outcry by any victims. Analysts develop suspects and turn information over to prosecutors and investigators to write search warrants and file charges once all information has been thoroughly investigated and developed against the true criminals, which includes Aggravated Promotion, Engaging in Organized Criminal Activities, and other felony offenses. In this workshop, case studies will be analyzed to show the process of how trafficking suspects are developed out of misdemeanor arrests, along with an understanding of how the diversion program assists in getting sellers out of the lifestyle of prostitution. Don’t be forever dependent upon reactive investigations of trafficking offenses; learn to conduct proactive investigations of traffickers who will no longer fly under law enforcement radar through an effective team approach. The presenter will provide statistics to show how and why this method works and how it will become the new standard in sex trafficking investigations.
Public Trust: Confronting Law Enforcement Sexual Misconduct in the #MeToo Era
Through an examination of case studies, after-action reviews, and the emerging national demand for increased accountability for all forms of sexual misconduct, this workshop will encourage courageous conversations and inspire proactive leadership strategies to address and prevent law enforcement sexual misconduct. The overwhelming majority of those who serve in law enforcement are professionals that uphold their oath of office. However, the numerous headlines, arrests, convictions, and lawsuits describing horrific acts of sexual misconduct perpetrated by law enforcement officers are incomprehensible. The prevalence of law enforcement sexual misconduct and its impact on public trust cannot be ignored. A predatory sexual offender with the power and authority of the police is an extremely serious breach of the ethics of law enforcement, a violation of the color of law, and a traumatizing victimization for a citizen that officers are sworn to protect. This workshop will identify practices for prevention, supervision, and accountability in law enforcement in order to combat these crimes and enhance public trust.
Reaching Victims of Crime with Limited English Proficiency
Paula Gomez Stordy
Language access is an integral part of emergency response and access to life-saving services and interventions. Meaningful language access helps overcome barriers to communication and is key for successful investigations. This workshop will discuss how to improve culturally-relevant language access for survivors and build trust in communities. The presenter will also examine the legal and ethical mandates to ensure meaningful language access.
Screening In: Exploring Evidence-Based, Practical Strategies for Identifying & Responding to Trafficking
The Dept. of Justice's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) manages the largest amount of federal funding dedicated to direct services for trafficking survivors, and OVC grantees provide a broad range of services to thousands of human trafficking victims each year. In order to deliver these services, organizations must be able to first effectively identify human trafficking victimization in the first place, moving beyond red flags and stereotypes. OVC’s human trafficking team lead will moderate this panel and will provide an overview of validated screening tools related to human trafficking. The presenters will discuss policies and procedures needed to implement trauma-informed screening processes and resources that may benefit an organization’s approach to screening potential victims of trafficking. The workshop will discuss lessons learned from a broad range of actors in the anti-trafficking field on how to support program staff and partner organizations in screening for all forms of human trafficking and referring identified victims for comprehensive services.
The Shadow of Death: I Fear No Evil, Except the One Who "Loves" Me
This workshop will examine intimate partner-related targeted violence, including murder/suicide and familicide, as well as what precipitates these events both behaviorally and in terms of target location, etc. The presenter will not only address emotional and psychological abuse patterns and correlates of perpetrators, but will also discuss the numerous danger and risk assessments being offered across the world and their pros and cons for efficacy. This workshop will explore the repetitive and predatory nature of the violence and the perpetrators themselves to answer how society assists in creating violent people who target those they are supposed to love, which will help address the problem more effectively in threat assessment and management investigations. As part of that exploration, attendees will go deeper into the potential correlation of Adverse Childhood Experiences Survey (ACES) Scores and childhood trauma as it relates to domestic violence for the purpose of possible predictive indicators.
Sheltering Animals & Families Together (SAF-T): A Global Initiative that Saves Lives
68% percent of American homes have a pet. As such, families seeking shelter often have a pet, and domestic violence professionals are increasingly being asked for pet housing resources. When a shelter is unable to welcome families with pets, this creates a barrier to safety and can impact ongoing investigation and prosecution. Research has shown that up to 65% of women will delay going to a shelter because of concerns about their pets, and women in shelters are nearly 11 times more likely to report their partner hurt or killed their pet. The SAF-T Program and SAF-T Start-Up Guide was created in 2008 to help shelters through the process of creating on-site pet housing so that more lives are saved. Attendees will learn the research supporting why housing pets reduces a barrier to safety, how the human-animal bond can help families with pets with the recovery process, how SAF-T helps with investigation and prosecution follow-thru for victims, four different SAF-T housing models, how to receive sustainable financial support, and how to overcome common concerns.
Spyware/Monitoring Software: An Overview of Capabilities & Simple Steps for Finding It
We all have heard the concerns around spyware existing in someone’s smartphone. This workshop will educate attendees on what spyware can and cannot do, certain conditions that must exist for specific software to function, and what can be done to stop it. Attendees will be shown simple steps that can be performed with the smartphone in question that may give insight to whether specific spyware is present or not. This is NOT a forensics class, but is intended to help non-technical professionals address these common concerns shared by too many survivors.
Strangulation Chronicles: Why Abusers Strangle Their Intimate Partners
This workshop is based, in part, on conversations with dozens of abusers who acknowledged strangling their intimate partners. A content analysis of their responses suggested that abusers have a variety of objectives in mind, including gaining sexual access, ensuring compliance, and silencing the victim. The presenter will highlight and offer an explanation of the deadly connection between strangulation and rape that is often overlooked while conducting lethality assessments. A videotaped interview with a man who strangled his wife to death will be analyzed to provide insights into the minds of those who use strangulation. This workshop will help inform safety planning strategies for victim advocates as well as engagement strategies for batterer intervention providers.
Strategies for Success & Sustainability of Your Domestic Violence High Risk Team
The Domestic Violence High Risk Team (DVHRT) Model is an innovative model to prevent domestic violence homicides. In addition to its primary function of homicide prevention, one of the critical functions of a DVHRT is to continuously audit the domestic violence response system to identify and close systemic gaps. Equally important to successfully implementing a team is the ability to maintain its effectiveness and sustainability over time. This workshop is designed for members of DVHRTs or other domestic violence multidisciplinary teams that are in the process of implementing or have already implemented. The presenter will review the critical systems audit function that DVHRTs serve and provide examples of how DVHRTs have identified and helped to close systems gaps. This workshop will also explore tools and strategies DVHRTs can use for successful team operations and sustainability. Strategies will include tips for conducting an annual assessment of team membership and leadership, tips for conducting an annual team meeting, the importance of renewing commitment to data collection and analysis, onboarding new team members, and strategies for conducting a critical case debrief.
Survivor Advocates: A Key to the Multidisciplinary Team
Working with survivor advocates can be complicated. Professionals and allies must develop a toolkit when working alongside survivor advocates as essential and critical members of the multidisciplinary team. Additionally, the team should view survivors as professionals who are valuable member of every team. Oftentimes in a critical stage of deciding whether they can accept help or not, the individual will connect and respond to a survivor advocate, someone who has been where they are, and can respond to their needs and concerns. As a result of this workshop, attendees will be able to identify tools to use with survivor advocates that will assist them in the field. Attendees will also learn best practices to use with survivor advocates to best serve those we are assisting. Case studies will be used to illustrate learning points.
Taking Guns from Domestic Violence Offenders & Keeping Them Away
This workshop will provide an overview of firearm surrender protocols that have been implemented in various settings across the country. There are three types of protocols: court-centered, law enforcement-centered, and probation-centered. This workshop will explore the strengths of probation-centered firearm surrender protocols, especially in collaboration with the legal system overall. It is intended to address law enforcement, the judiciary, domestic violence advocates, prosecutors, defense counsel, and probation officers through civil and criminal justice protocols. In addition to statistical research, the presenters will explore the practical application of surrender protocols and tips on implementing firearm surrender protocols in various communities.
Think Like There is No Box: The Scope of Forensic Nursing
Many practitioners view forensic examinations as only a simple directional guide for sexual assaults, but there is much more to the exam and how the examiner can be utilized. When agencies begin utilizing forensic nurses for other victims of crime including strangulation, domestic violence, child abuse, gun shots, and stabbings, the benefits to the patient are immeasurable. This workshop will walk through the exam step-by-step and discuss best practices for evidence collection in various cases, as well as guide law enforcement and prosecutors through ways to better utilize forensic nurses. Although law enforcement and forensic examiners have separate roles and different focuses, they so often work together with a patient/victim. Knowing the language involved in evidence collection and documentation, as well as understanding the resources available, can make or break a case.
Trafficking Screening Tool for Latin@s Accessing Domestic Violence Programs
Maria Cristina Pacheco Alcala
Presenters from the National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families & Communities, a Project of Casa de Esperanza, will present a tool to identify Latin@ survivors of trafficking who access services in domestic violence shelters and programs. Although there are several trafficking screening toolkits available, most do not incorporate a culturally relevant approach. This tool is the result of the collaboration between national and local staff that engage with communities daily to provide support to Latin@ survivors.
Uber Law Enforcement Operations: Engagement, Partnership, & Response
Uber has invested in a global team of former law enforcement professionals, response team specialists, and a 24/7 online portal for law enforcement use only. These three components work together to educate, cooperate with, and respond to law enforcement’s investigative needs. Crucial to this team’s ongoing success is building and maintaining partnerships with law enforcement around the world. Through these partnerships, Uber has become and will continue to be a more active participant in law enforcement’s efforts to keep our communities safe. In this workshop, Uber’s Law Enforcement Liaisons will give an overview of how Uber works as a transportation platform, the future of that platform, the type of data that is captured as it relates to customers and transactions, and the process law enforcement must use to obtain this information during the course of a criminal investigation and/or critical incident. The following topics will be covered: Uber as a transportation platform; Uber law enforcement operations: outreach and response; riders, drivers, trips; Uber law enforcement portal; legal process submissions; emergency requests; and case examples.
Understanding the Needs of Victims in the Deaf Community
This workshop will focus on the needs of deaf survivors and recognize their unique struggles of living within the deaf community and the difficulty of receiving domestic violence/sexual assault (DV/SA) services. The deaf and hard-of-hearing survivor’s “world” is completely different than the hearing survivor’s. The lack of communication with hearing providers, the lack of access to the outside world, and the small, tight-knit culture of the deaf community all provide different ways of living and dealing with domestic violence. Frequently, the deaf survivor will spend time struggling with the decision whether or not to use services currently provided by those who are unfamiliar with deaf culture and the unique needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing survivors. Because of this unfamiliarity with deaf culture & language, a deaf survivor may end up spending more time educating a provider on a survivor’s unique communication & cultural needs rather than on the abusive experience that a survivor needs help to overcome. This workshop will discuss the unique needs of the deaf community, as well as those with mutiple identities (such as Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and Hard of Hearing).
Unsilencing the Non-State Torture & Trafficking Organized & Perpetrated Within Family Systems
Acts of torture perpetrated in the domestic private sphere against women and girls are seldom acknowledged or criminalized. Consequently, women’s survival responses can be misunderstood; women can be labeled mentally ill or called ‘crazy'. In a participatory research questionnaire done by the presenters in 2010, 81% of participants said the risk of experiencing discrimination and stigmatization prevented them from disclosing the torture victimizations they survived in childhood and or as adults within family systems, including torture by a spouse or when trafficked. This workshop will share 26 years of grassroot support of Canadian women who self-identified surviving family systems that tortured and trafficked them, both for the perpetrators’ pleasure and for the torturers’ relational connection to like-minded others. The presenters will share models that illustrate the modus operandi of such non-State torturers (NST) and first voice drawings done by women in their efforts to illustrate the torture they survived. The workshop will discuss the process of naming the care as "non-State torture victimization-traumatization care" and women’s post-traumatic stress as responses (PTSR), rather than being labeled as having a disorder (PTSD).
Using Code Enforcement to Address Human Trafficking
Certain types of businesses, such as massage establishments and alcoholic beverage establishments, have become an important element in the business model for prostitution and human trafficking. Pimps and traffickers are opening businesses disguised as legitimate establishments and allowing them to operate out in the public, next to legitimate businesses, and imbedding themselves in communities. Unfortunately, there are times that, due to limited resources, manpower, and time, traditional forms of law enforcement have had difficulties in dealing with these illicit businesses. Fortunately, in their efforts to disguise their criminal enterprise as a legitimate business, pimps and traffickers have left themselves vulnerable to the problems that every legitimate business has to deal with: regulation.
Using Gynecological Teaching Assistants to Train Nurses & Advocates (Lunch Session)
A trauma-informed approach is extremely important when communicating with and examining patients who have been assaulted. This workshop will describe how utilizing Gynecologic Teaching Associates (GTAs) in your training programs can be hugely beneficial. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) along with the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) have started including in their trainings in clinical skills labs through hands-on care, including pelvic examinations, photo documentation, and age-varied scenarios. This lunch session will explain what this process involves for examiners and individuals who may want to become more involved in this field. Advocates are often trained to provide emotional support at the time of an assault, but providing support through the medical examination can sometimes be a huge learning curve. Utilizing GTA’s in advocate training can allow advocates to learn through scenarios in which they can practice various assessment skills on a volunteer, rather than a victim.
Using Victims of Crime Act Funding to Break Down Legal Barriers for Victims
The Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) provides federal victim assistance to every state and territory to support programs serving victims of crime. Victims of domestic violence, elder abuse, human trafficking, the opioid crisis, stalking, fraud in the aftermath of a natural disaster, and many other crimes typically have a wide array of civil legal needs. Too often, they face a daunting gauntlet in our justice system and fragmented or no services if they seek help. Texas is using its approximately $200 million in Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Victim Assistance funding to support hundreds of victim service programs across Texas. One of these programs is Lone Star Legal Aid, which originally received direct funding from OVC to launch a comprehensive legal network providing a full range of legal services to crime victims. Texas is now using federal VOCA dollars to continue and expand legal services to victims of crime. This workshop will cover the evidence base for how civil legal aid helps crime victims and spotlight innovative approaches to providing these essential services. The presenters will provide concrete tips and share lessons learned so that attendees can try these approaches at home.
Voluntary Intoxication: It’s Not Consent for Sex, You Know!
Alcohol-facilitated sexual assaults are by far some of the most challenging cases any criminal justice or allied professional will work. The vast majority of are not reported, but when they are, the reported victims and suspects rarely receive the justice they deserve. This workshop will explore the profusion of sexual assaults that occur while a victim is under the influence of alcohol. The presenter will discuss the role of alcohol in our society, especially within the social spectrum of dating and pursuing sexual encounters, and provide skills to assist in the recognition of the effects of alcohol in both the reported victim and suspects. Multiple visual examples will be provided in order to help attendees recognize and evaluate degrees of intoxication, which assists in providing a foundation for assessing substantial incapacitation. Attendees will learn how substantial incapacitation fits within the realm of a complete and thorough investigation and prosecution.
What HB 902 Can Do to Help Protect & Save Pregnant Women (Lunch Session)
Far too often, women who are pregnant are not protected well against all forms of violent abuse. Up until 2019, Texas law excluded pregnant women as a protected class, just as the law did with seniors or the disabled. Many assaults were only classified as a misdemeanor. The passage of HB 902 in the 86th Texas Legislators provided increased penalties to an assault of a pregnant woman, and moved all assaults to a felony change. This lunch session will discuss HB 902 and how existing Texas laws can assist in prosecuting and saving mom and unborn babies from immediate and long-term harm.
When Predators Take Flight: A Bird's Eye View of Sexual Assault
Due to the risks of air travel (e.g. pilot error, mechanical failures, extreme weather, terrorist attacks, etc.), the top priority of the airline industry is passenger safety. It is ironic, then, that while airline disasters are extremely rare, the sexual safety of its passengers is far from assured and rarely even considered. Instead, the nature of commercial air travel continues to create a paradise for potential perpetrators and a nightmare for potential victims. This workshop will take a birds-eye view of sexual assault by examining actual cases that occurred at 30,000 feet. The presenter will lead a discussion of a wide range of topics including: offender tactics, barriers to reporting, victim blame, drug-facilitated assaults, the role of first responders and other members of a sexual assault response team, bystander intervention, jurisdictional ambiguities, cross-cultural variations, the intersection with human trafficking, investigative components, and prevention strategies.
Where There is Dark, There is Light: Exploring the Online Universe
The online universe, including its darkest corners, is vast and rapidly expanding. Pornography represents 35% of all internet downloads, and the majority is highly toxic. Online gaming is literally changing the neurobiological landscape of our children’s minds, where often cyberbullying and microaggressions are normalized within very sexist story lines. However, where there is dark, there is light. Vulnerability, empathy, and human-centric concepts are slowly becoming expectations of online interaction. There is wide conversation around loneliness and how to increase authentic, healthy connection. Innovative thinkers are busy finding creative solutions to massive problems such as environmental degradation, violence, poverty, and the depression of the soul. This workshop will explore the implications of both sides of the spectrum. The presenter will make the case that there is still the possibility that we can create a world—even, and maybe especially, online—where trauma is met with compassion and healing.