FCASV Insight September 2016

The Florida Council Against Sexual Violence is excited to announce we will be disseminating an e-newsletter every other month! This is the first edition of our new e-newsletter series. 

FCASV Staff Attends National Sexual Assault Conference

Several FCASV staff members recently traveled to Washington, D.C. for the two and a half day National Sexual Assault Conference (NSAC). The conference united experts from countless backgrounds and fields to host diverse discussions about sexual assault issues and best practices.

The workshop topic areas were vast and varied from campus sexual assault to serving rural communities to healing techniques. NSAC also included inspiring exhibitions like the Bristlecone project – 1in6.org’s awareness campaign – that shared portraits and narratives of male survivors of childhood sexual abuse and their stories of healing.  

The tree of hope (pictured below) was a meaningful representation of the conference’s theme: “Hopeful Future, Honored Past.” Participants were invited to write messages of hope for survivors on leaves that were then attached to the tree. 

This could be a unique way to offer survivors hope and comfort in your Centers and offices. If you do try this, please send in photographs. We’d love to highlight them!

Center Highlight

We will be featuring a different certified rape crisis center in each of our e-newsletter editions. Family Life Center is our first highlight!

Family Life Center began providing services to sexual assault survivors and their families in March 2014. We became the only certified Rape Crisis Center in Flagler County November 2015 after providing crisis intervention services in Flagler County for nearly 30 years as the only certified Domestic Violence Emergency Shelter. 

As a dual certified agency, the Family Life Center provides all required core services. Since embarking on the journey of becoming a certified Rape Crisis Center we have learned the critical need for community engagement in supporting victims of rape/sexual assault. Too often the reaction from friends, co-workers or family members deters victims from reporting their victimization or conversely a lack of prosecution emboldens perpetrators to commit such a heinous crime. The Family Life Center is excited to open up conversations between service providers, law enforcement and community stakeholders to discuss how we can work together to better support primary and secondary victims of sexual assault in Flagler County.

Family Life Center’s Annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event will be held Saturday, October, 1, 2016 at Veteran’s Park in Flagler Beach, Florida. This is an exciting event for men to show support for victims of sexual assault or domestic violence. If you are in the area, please stop by and support the Family Life Center!

Statewide SART Recommendations To Be Released

The Statewide SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) Advisory Committee is a statewide group coordinated by FCASV and comprised of representatives from a broad range of disciplines whose work brings them into contact with rape survivors. The committee works to assess and improve Florida’s response to survivors of sexual violence at the state and local level. In the 2015-2016 year, FCASV commenced a special session of the Statewide SART, focusing its efforts exclusively on sexual assault forensic exam program administration and management. 

Membership for the 2015-2016 year was comprised of experts who manage and administer forensic exam programs that are led by certified rape crisis programs.  FCASV commends the hard work and dedication of the Statewide SART members. The recommendations developed by the Statewide SART are intended to communicate best practices amongst forensic exam programs. 

The recommendations will be released on Tuesday, September 27 and available at fcasv.org. We encourage policy makers and community leaders to enact these recommendations and share these resources in order to provide victims of sexual violence the response they deserve and the services they need to overcome the trauma of rape. 

Get To Know FCASV

Melissa Ashton, Statewide Victim Services Coordinator
Melissa works closely with the Director of Advocacy/LAV Director Theresa Prichard to address the legal needs of survivors and the rape crisis programs that serve them. Other goals for this project include gathering and disseminating resource materials to Florida’s rape crisis programs on the civil legal needs of sexual violence victims and making appropriate referrals based on data collected from project partners, which include rape crisis centers in the Tampa and Panhandle areas of Florida. These centers include Lakeview Center, Refuge House, Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, Suncoast Center, Sunrise of Pasco County, and Legal Services of North Florida. She is also teaching a course in family violence this fall at FSU in the College of Social Work.  

Melissa has been in the field of victim services for 15 years. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Florida State University. Her career began as a victim advocate at the State Attorney’s Office in the Second Judicial Circuit working with survivors of domestic violence. Melissa has also worked as an advocate at the State Attorney’s Office, Seventeenth Judicial Circuit in Fort Lauderdale, in the sex crimes and child abuse unit. Upon Melissa’s return to Tallahassee, she worked at the Office of the Attorney General as a victim compensation claims analyst. From there, Melissa went on to Florida State University where she served as Assistant Dean and Director of the Victim Advocacy Program.  

Melissa has served on the Board of Directors for Big Bend Victim Assistance Coalition and Florida Council Against Sexual Violence. Additionally, she has served as a member of the Leon County Sexual Assault Task Force. In 2015, Melissa received the Victim Advocate of the Year Award for the Big Bend area. She is a Designated Victim Advocate by the Office of the Attorney General.

In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her family and traveling. 

Upcoming Events and Trainings

If your organization has upcoming events/trainings that you would like to share, you're welcome to send information to Courtney Nomina at cnomina@fcasv.org. Visit fcasv.org for a list of upcoming events.

Rural One-Day Medical Forensic Examination Training 
For these rural counties only: Jackson, Calhoun, Washington, and Holmes

Bonifay, FL 

For more information and to register, visit fcasv.org.

Volunteer Recruitment and Management & Rural Advocates Training
Tallahassee, FL

For more information and to register, visit fcasv.org.

FCASV 40-hour SANE Training
11/14/16 to 11/18/16
Brooksville, FL

For more information and to register, visit fcasv.org.

Volunteer Recruitment and Management & Rural Advocates Training
Sarasota, FL

For more information and to register, visit fcasv.org.

For certified rape crisis centers: These events can count toward the FCASV 8-hour sexual violence annual training requirement. Check with your FCASV Contract Manager if you want to use contract funds to attend any of these trainings.

This project was supported by a grant awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.