Excellence in Sexual Assault Response Project Gearing Up for July 1 Start

The Excellence in Sexual Assault Response Project is a collaboration between FCASV and the criminal justice community and is funded by the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. The Project offers free training, policy development consultation, and technical assistance to law enforcement organizations and state attorneys’ offices on responding to sex crimes against victims 12 years old and above.

This Project is unique in several respects, including its focus on a victim-centered, offender-focused response to sexual assault. Over the last year, the Project has drawn on law enforcement officers, 911 dispatchers, prosecutors, and FDLE subject matter experts from across Florida and the nation to create an intensive curriculum. The curriculum is designed to strengthen the criminal justice response to sexual assault and incorporate the most up-to-date knowledge and practices. The Project differs in many ways from traditional training, chiefly because of the educational focus on responding in a trauma informed manner, which is shown to improve investigations, case progression, prosecutions, and victim healing.

Through a competitive application process, four sites were selected to participate in the project and receive the trauma informed sexual assault response training.

Two site visits were completed in May 2016: Punta Gorda Police Department/Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office and Cross City Police Department/Dixie County Sheriff’s Office. FCASV met with 911 dispatchers, law enforcement agencies, certified sexual assault programs, hospitals, advocacy centers, and state attorneys' offices to map out the current response to sexual assault and assess training needs for the project rollout.

Two more site visits will be completed in July 2016: Clearwater Police Department/University of South Florida St. Petersburg Police Department and Gainesville Police Department/Alachua County Sheriff’s Office. The trainings will also include train-the-trainer courses. Each agency will designate their own in-house instructors who will be certified to teach the trauma informed response curriculum to their remaining staff and new hires, thus ensuring ongoing application of the new practices.

We look forward to partnering with the criminal justice system to improve Florida’s response to sexual violence.