Sexual Assault

Introduction to a Public Health Framework for Human Trafficking

The National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center is hosting a webinar on September 14th at 2pm ET: Introduction to a Public Health Framework for Human Trafficking. From the announcement:

This webinar will introduce you to a public health framework for human trafficking, which allows communities to identify and respond to the complex needs of all individuals who have been trafficked. A public health approach also examines the root causes that make individuals, families, and communities vulnerable to trafficking. In this webinar, we apply the “upstream-downstream” metaphor to a public health approach, and examine the success of looking upstream in building a public health response to other social issues such as domestic violence or anti-smoking efforts.

Register here.

Elder Abuse/Neglect

Upcoming Webinars from the Elder Justice Initiative

The Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative is a treasure trove of resources on all things elder abuse, including a host of webinars, so many that I haven’t been able to keep up here. What follows is a selection of some of the many available (archived and live) on their site that are particularly relevant to our work. I have listed the live ones first, followed by a few archived selections:

Understanding Elder Mistreatment Through a Lens of Severity: Implications for Research and Practice (LIVE September 8th, 2pm ET): Please join our webinar on Friday, September 8, 2:00-3:00 p.m. e.t., as Sidney Stahl, PH.D., Research Consultant, Elder Justice Initiative, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., hosts a discussion with David Burnes, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Canada. Dr. Burnes, a professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and Affiliate Scientist at Baycrest Health Sciences, introduced the concept of “severity” into the study of elder abuse. Severity of elder abuse may be an indicator of the urgency and types of help needed by victims of elder abuse. Yet, severity is an understudied aspect of the field, and Dr. Burnes has conducted several studies incorporating measures of severity. His research informs both targeted screening of victims, interventions that serve to help victims, and a forensic tool for possible use in the prosecution of elder abuse cases.

How EMTs Can Help Identify and Report Elder Abuse (LIVE September 11, 2pm ET): Details to come; please check back on the site.

The Forgotten Victims: Elder Homicides (LIVE September 25, 2pm ET): Details to come; please check back on the site.

Assessing Cognitive Capacity in Elder Abuse Cases (ARCHIVED): This webinar is offered to all professionals who work on elder abuse MDT’s to better understand the issue of decisional capacity. Dr. Olsen will provide several contexts where decisional capacity is central to case formulation and resolution. She will present the components of a good assessment with examples of how to collect and integrate relevant information. Lastly, the importance of maintaining a client-centered orientation will be discussed so that MDT’s maintain an awareness of the need to balance the client’s self-determination with the need for protection.

Improving Emergency Department Identification of Elder Abuse (ARCHIVED): Dr. Sidney M. Stahl, Research Consultant at the U.S. Department of Justice, hosts a discussion with Anthony Rosen, Instructor in Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University, and Assistant Attending Physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY. Dr. Rosen is a practicing Emergency Physician and a researcher in elder abuse and geriatric injury prevention. Dr. Rosen and his team are doing groundbreaking research on distinguishing physical signs and forensic markers of elder abuse from injuries and bruising related to falls in older persons. Dr. Rosen will be discussing this, in addition to a standardized protocol for photographing geriatric injuries and comprehensive classification system for visible injuries. His interdisciplinary work with nursing, social work, geriatrics, psychiatry, and radiology has significant implications for the prosecution of elder abuse and neglect cases.

Assessing Cognitive Capacity in Elder Abuse Cases (ARCHIVED): Sidney Stahl, Ph.D., Consultant, Elder Justice Research Initiative, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC, hosts a discussion with Laura Mosqueda, M.D., FAAFP, AGSF, Chair, Department of Family Medicine, Professor of Family Medicine and Geriatrics, Associate Dean of Primary Care, at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, and Page Ulrey, J.D., Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Seattle, WA. Dr. Mosqueda has completed some of the only forensic research in the context of elder abuse. She will share her findings with attendees and introduce a physician-friendly protocol for documenting physical abuse for prosecutors should the case go to trial. The webinar is being co-presented by Ms. Page Ulrey who will describe the value of the new protocol from a prosecutor’s perspective.


Child Abuse Sexual Assault

Conducting Community Inventories to Support Victims of Human Trafficking

There’s been a fair amount of attention focused on human trafficking on several of the community listservs to which I subscribe, so I am trying to post more related resources. This one is geared toward the community response: Conducting Community Inventories to Support Victims of Human Trafficking. The session is being offered by the National Criminal Justice Training Center on September 7th at 2pm ET. From the site:

Explore best practices for developing an organizational network to produce sustainable community-wide services for victims of human trafficking. Bill Kearney, author of Equipping Quality Youth Development Professionals and co-founder of WBK&A, Inc., will provide examples of community-wide efforts from across the country to promote collaboration between public agencies, private, and non-profit organizations. Participants will learn the necessary steps to conduct resource inventories within their communities and to engage various stakeholders in meeting common goals.

Register here.



Since Last We Spoke, 8-28-17

Our thoughts here at FHO HQ (aka, my house) are with our friends and colleagues in Houston and the other affected areas. Hope everyone is safe, and big love to all of you working as (or otherwise supporting) 1st responders down there. I spent much of the weekend scrolling through updates of the storm, and making donations here and there where it felt like my dollars would help the most (including the Texas Diaper Bank, which would most certainly appreciate your donation; other ideas here and here). Here’s what caught my eye since last we spoke:

Some compelling photojournalism

It wasn’t a surprise

Don’t do these things in your meetings

Figuring out the pronouns

Worst and best places to be gay in the US

Why it’s harder for African-American women to report campus assaults

A pretty decent list of social media tips

Possible you’re being rude abroad

Loved this photo essay on military women

Feels like this was months ago–I have serious political fatigue

Ugh–related (again)

Also, did this really just happen on Friday?

Finally, Uncle Joe, speaking some truth

Articles of Note Uncategorized

Articles of Note: August 2017

It’s time once again for Articles of Note, our monthly romp through the peer-reviewed literature. You’ll notice many articles from the same source–the Journal of Clinical Nursing has a special issue on abuse and violence this month, so you might want to peruse the full table of contents. Disclaimers: not comprehensive, please don’t reproduce my stuff without attribution, etc., etc.

Word doc for active links; PDF for better sharing. Like always.


DV/IPV Sexual Assault

The Economic Cost of Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking

If you’ve been reading FHO for awhile, you know I am hugely interested in the economics of the work we do. So I was pleased to see this new report from the Institute for Women’s Policy ResearchThe Economic Cost of Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking. From the website:

Intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual assault, and stalking have profound economic effects on victims and survivors. The physical aspects of violence often result in significant medical costs and time off from work. The long-term psychological consequences may hinder victims’ ability to study or hold a job; in some cases, perpetrators directly sabotage their victims’ employment. Economic abuse, which can take a range of forms—including preventing access to financial resources and generating unauthorized debt—can leave victims facing economic insecurity and poor credit. Seeking safety is often financially prohibitive, reducing a victim’s ability to leave the abuser and recover.

This fact sheet summarizes findings from research literature on the economic consequences and costs of IPV, sexual assault, and stalking for victims and survivors. The costs highlighted include medical expenditures, lower wages resulting from diminished educational attainment, lost wages from missed work and job loss, debt and poor credit, and costs associated with housing instability.

Download the full report here (PDF).

[H/t VAWnet]

Sexual Assault

Developing a SANE Program in Rural Communities

OVC TTAC has a webinar coming up next month as part of the SANE Program Development and Operation Web Training Series, Developing a SANE Program in Rural Communities. The session will be held September 29th at 2pm ET. As with most of their webinars, available info is limited: Learn about the challenges, opportunities, lessons learned, and available resources related to developing a SANE program in rural communities. Register here.


Since Last We Spoke, 8-21-17

Well, much as a nasty bout of vertigo attempted to derail my travel plans, I’m currently sitting at DCA, awaiting my flight to Providence, RI, where I’ll pick up a car and head to Newport. One of my favorite places to teach every year, and certainly one of the loveliest spots for a military base. Last week I was with the Air Force; this week it’s Navy and Marine Corps. Can’t wait to get up there, even though it’ll only be for a minute.

The vertigo made focusing on words tough, so didn’t surf much this weekend. But here at the airport it’s a different story. Here’s what’s caught my eye since last we spoke:

I feel this deeply


And in Boston

The very real struggles of victims in long term care facilities

Not everyone will be watching today

Fallen forensics

So much heartbreak in this story



Respect Effect: A New Tool for Teen Dating Violence Prevention

Let’s highlight some prevention today, since we spend so much time on response. That’s Not Cool, in conjunction with Break the Cycle, has an upcoming webinar, Respect Effect: A New Tool for Teen Dating Violence Prevention. The session will be held August 31st at 1pm ET. From the announcement:

That’s Not Cool is proud and excited to announce the release of a brand new mobile app: Respect Effect. Respect Effect was developed in partnership with teens! Respect Effect is an innovative NEW mobile application that encourages users to learn and practice healthy relationship skills, all while earning points for completing fun challenges with their friends. The app focuses on developing the skills young people need to keep themselves safe, promote positivity and respect (online and off!), and create and sustain healthy relationships.

We hope you’ll join us, and our friends Break the Cycle, as we give you a full introduction to Respect Effect. We will explain exactly how you can easily integrate this tool into your violence prevention work with teens. We will also touch on:

  • Digital dating abuse and the tenants of organizing youth in digital spaces
  • Best practices for the development of new digital tools
  • Tips and tricks for social media engagement and promotion

Register here.


Organizational-Level Response and Planning for Staff Compassion Fatigue/Vicarious Trauma

Office for Victims of Crime has an upcoming webinar, Organizational-Level Response and Planning for Staff Compassion Fatigue/Vicarious Trauma. The session will be held August 23rd at 2pm ET. From the site:

It takes courage to help child and adult victims of sexual abuse, assist survivors of acts of terrorism and mass violence, fight fires that may have taken people’s lives, or respond to shootings and other crime scenes. It also takes commitment to do this work in spite of the personal, physical, emotional, and mental impact it can have. This session will focus on how OVC’s Vicarious Trauma Toolkit (VTT) can help you to—

  • Conduct an assessment of your agency’s current capacity as a vicarious trauma-informed organization. 
  • Bring leadership and staff together to review your existing capacity, identify gaps, and prioritize needs.
  • Locate resources and tools in the VTT and Compendium of Resources to help meet your identified needs. 
  • Develop a comprehensive plan to become a vicarious trauma-informed organization that addresses exposure to single incidents of crime or violence and acts of mass violence and terrorism.

Register here.

Sexual Assault

Trafficking in Native Communities

Late notice, so apologies, but hopefully, this will be archived: the National Latin@ Network has a webinar coming up on August 17th, Trafficking in Native Communities. The session will be held from 12:30-2pm CT. From the site:

This webinar will address the unique ways that trafficking impacts Native communities in the United States.  Specific topics will include the history of trafficking, trafficking in urban vs. reservation communities, risk factors, legal considerations, and best practices for providing culturally-specific support to survivors.  Research on Native women who have been trafficked will also be reviewed.

By the end of this webinar, participants will learn: 

  • How trafficking of Native people is linked to colonization and other forms of violence.
  • Best practices for providing culturally-specific support to survivors.
  • Pressing needs and gaps in support that survivors have identified.

Register here.


Since Last We Spoke, 8-14-17

Well, on the one hand, I’m back in DC after 2 long weeks away from my wife, so that’s wonderful. On the other hand, let’s face it–this weekend was a dumpster fire, as far as current events go. What we saw in Charlottesville, a place I know and love, a place where many of my friends live and have lived, has me angry and afraid. My own words seem pretty impotent, so I spent much of the last 48 hours retweeting people more eloquent and frankly, more informed, than me and donating money to a variety of organizations and individuals who were injured or killed, on their crowdfunding pages (you can find a variety of them here. Also, see this one. And some good links throughout this essay.) Not nearly enough, but what I’ve been able to do thus far.

Let’s hope that this week shines a bit more light in our world. Way too much darkness these days. Here’s what I”ve been reading since last we spoke:

So much written on C-ville, but this piece speaks to us directly in the nonprofit world

And because I am a woman of science

And a 1st person account from one of our own

[It’s all related]

On a different note, something empowering

See also

Same old, same old, sports people

Not heartening

But this is

I feel like I deserve several of these today alone

Sexual Assault

National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits: A Multidisciplinary Approach

I’m pleased to announce that the National Best Practice for Sexual Assault Kits: A Multidisciplinary Approach is now available from NIJ. This is a project many of us worked on and should provide excellent guidance related to all things sexual assault evidence collections kits, including our role in obtaining samples, processing kits, notifying victims and more. From the site:

Through the report, “National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits: A Multidisciplinary Approach,” NIJ’s expert working group created 35 recommendations providing a guide to victim-centered approaches for responding to sexual assault cases and better supporting victims throughout the criminal justice process. A coordinated and collaborative approach to sexual assault investigations helps provide reassurance and support to the victims of sexual violence, improve victim engagement to facilitate healing, and increase the potential for just resolutions to these cases.

Jurisdictions vary in their individual needs and resources; these recommendations can help provide a roadmap for agencies to develop or advance their policies and protocols for untested sexual assault kits. The recommendations emphasize the use of collaborative, victim-centered, and multidisciplinary approaches to improve evidence collection and preservation, increase consistency and provide uniformity for the prioritization and transferral of evidence, enhance laboratory process efficiencies for DNA testing, and advance investigative practices and agency protocols for: evidence inventory, tracking and audits, and communication systems.

Chapter 2 specifically addresses medical-forensic exams, but it’s worth reviewing the full doc, particularly with your SART or MDT, because there are some items in here that have been a bit fuzzy in the past that are addressed with more clarity (such as numbers of swabs obtained and how they should be obtained; use of lubricants; slides and smears). Although they specifically pertain to the work we do, they don’t exist in a vacuum, so expect the need for some multidisciplinary conversation, including your crime lab personnel.

You can download the full document here (PDF).

Sexual Assault

How Language Helps Shape Our Response to Sexual Violence

Somehow I managed to forget to post this, so apologies for the late notice (but it will be archived, so no worries if you can’t view in real time): How Language Helps Shape Our Response to Sexual Violence is the next webinar offered over at SAFEta (and KIDSta). It will be held August 10th at 2pm ET. The awesome Claudia Bayliff is the featured speaker (her sessions at the annual conference are always packed), so it’s a definite do not miss (especially if you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing her before). From the announcement:

When discussing sexual violence, we often use the language of consensual sex to describe assaultive acts or use euphemisms, erotic, or affectionate terms to portray violent acts. This language implies consent and romance, rather than criminal acts. In addition, we tend to describe violence against women in passive terms, which allows the perpetrators of this violence to remain invisible and unaccountable. We also use language that objectifies or blames sexual assault victims. This interactive session will explore the language of sexual assault: how we talk about and write about this crime. We will discuss specific examples of the language we use and explore how to discuss sexual assault in a way that more accurately depicts the crime. This session is applicable to all members of the response team who work with survivors of sexual and domestic violence.

Register here.


Since Last We Spoke, 8-7-17

Greetings from week 2 in the CLE. For those of you in the area I will be giving a somewhat impromptu testimony talk this Thursday, August 10th from 6-8pm at the Cleveland Clinic Building in Independence:

As I mentioned last week, I am spending a couple weeks with kiddo and family, which has been relatively relaxing, but also tough for maintaining focus. Here’s what’s distracted me caught my eye since last we spoke:

Well this is a distressing news item

Leave Title IX be

More on tonic immobility in sexual assault

[Reads article, goes back to bed]


Good eyes, good job

Not certain this is the right question, but it certainly needs to be discussed

Hurt my heart and made me miss T even more

Probably funnier to me than it will be to many of you because my teenager talks JUST LIKE THIS

Elder Abuse/Neglect

Bruising in Older Adults

The National Center on Elder Abuse has a research-to-practice translation: Bruising in Older Adults: Accidental Bruising and Bruising from Physical Abuse (PDF) that I stumbled on, thanks to the magic of social media. The graphics-heavy piece makes a lovely companion to the overview on elder abuse screening tools (PDF) they published last year. And now you have a topic for your next staff meeting, with read-aheads ready to download and send out to your team.


Calling Bullsh*t

I am so fascinated by this: a couple of professors from the University of Washington have created an entire course, with syllabus and lectures available online, Calling Bullshit. Its purpose is to teach people how data can be manipulated, and in turn to help create more enlightened consumers of information. Since we almost always discuss the issue of identifying what constitutes good science in my workshops on testimony, I am now pleasantly working my way through this whole course.

From the site:

Of course an advertisement is trying to sell you something, but do you know whether the TED talk you watched last night is also bullshit — and if so, can you explain why? Can you see the problem with the latest New York Times or Washington Post article fawning over some startup’s big data analytics? Can you tell when a clinical trial reported in the New England Journal or JAMA is trustworthy, and when it is just a veiled press release for some big pharma company?

Our aim in this course is to teach you how to think critically about the data and models that constitute evidence in the social and natural sciences.

Highly. Recommend. If you’re looking for me I’ll be sitting by my parents’ pool honing my bullshit detector 🙂

{H/t @FastCompany}

Sexual Assault

How To Expand an Existing SANE Program

OVC TTAC has a webinar coming up as part of their SANE Program Development and Operation Web Training Series, How to Expand an Existing SANE Program. The session will be held September 18th at 2pm ET. Not a ton of info about the content: Learn about the challenges, opportunities, and benefits of expanding SANE programs to include forensic nursing care for additional patient populations, and how to expand your program. The session will likely take into account this section from the SANE Program Development and Operation Guide. Register here.