FCASV Insight November 2016

FCASV Celebrates 30 Years of Providing Support to Survivors of Sexual Violence

For 30 years, the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence (FCASV) has provided vital support to the state’s certified sexual assault programs and advocated for the rights of victims.

Initially established in 1986 as the Florida Council of Sexual Abuse Services, FCASV has since been an integral part of various initiatives in the fight against sexual violence. Beginning with a 2002 initiative to amend Florida’s victims’ rights statute and extend sexual assault counselor-victim privilege to trained volunteers working for rape crisis centers, some of FCASV’s successful policy initiatives have included:

● The Sexual Battery Victims Recovery Act, establishing the Rape Crisis Program Trust Fund and a mechanism for distributing funds collected to certified rape crisis programs
● Ensuring rape victims’ access to forensic medical exams, regardless of reporting status
● Prompt HIV testing of an offender against whom charges have been filed
● Relocation assistance for sexual assault survivors from the Victim Compensation Fund
● Inclusion of clear and convincing evidence that a child was conceived as the result of sexual battery as grounds for termination of the offender’s parental rights
● Timely sexual assault kit testing so Florida will never again experience a backlog of untested kits

“One of our main goals at FCASV is to listen to and support survivors in concrete ways. Our work to improve Florida’s response to survivors is guided by survivors’ experiences with first responders; the criminal justice, education, child welfare, and legal systems; and rape crisis programs. During the last fifteen years, in particular, Florida has demonstrated its commitment to justice and survivor recovery in significant ways,” said Jennifer Dritt, FCASV Executive Director. “While steady funding for trauma-informed recovery services; access to forensic exams conducted by trained professionals; relocation assistance; and timely testing of collected evidence are victories we gladly celebrate, our work continues. FCASV’s ongoing projects demonstrate our commitment to improving the lives of survivors through collaboration and system change.”

FCASV is currently furthering its mission through initiatives such as the Excellence in Sexual Assault Response (ESAR) project and the Legal Assistance for Victims (LAV) project. In partnership with law enforcement agencies in Dixie, Alachua, Charlotte, and Pinellas counties, the ESAR project trains dispatch, patrol, investigative, and command staff in trauma-informed survivor response and sexual battery investigations. In collaboration with Legal Services of North Florida; Lakeview Center in Pensacola; the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay; Suncoast Center; and Sunrise of Pasco County, the LAV project provides representation for survivors in a broad range of legal matters.

To learn more about what FCASV is doing on behalf of Florida’s survivors, visit fcasv.org.

FCASV Executive Director and Board Members at the 30th anniversary celebration.


Center Highlight: Refuge House

On June 22, 2016, Refuge House opened the Meg Baldwin SAFE Center in Tallahassee. The SAFE Center is a free-standing forensic exam clinic available to sexual assault survivors in Leon and surrounding counties. The SAFE Center provides a calm, private, survivor-focused environment where victims' needs are met without the disruptions sometimes found in emergency departments.

Refuge House worked in close collaboration with Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, the Tallahassee Police Department, and the Leon County Sheriff's Office to ensure high-quality care will be provided to those who seek help at the SAFE Center.

SAFE Center exam room 


FCASV SANE Training Receives International Association of Forensic Nurses Approval

FCASV’s SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) course has received a seal of approval from the IAFN (International Association of Forensic Nurses). After a review of our SANE course, we were found to meet IAFN SANE Education Guidelines. Please scroll down to the upcoming events/trainings section of our newsletter to learn about our upcoming SANE trainings. You can always visit fcasv.org for an updated list and to register for the trainings.


Get To Know FCASV

Donna Brown, Research and Prevention Consultant

Donna’s FCASV work has included developing the Advocacy Core Training Online, and working closely with Lauren’s Kids to develop materials that serve to protect children from sexual abuse or heal children who have experienced abuse. Working closely with Micheala Denny, she developed a workbook for adoptive and foster parents who are caring for children who have been sexually abused. The workbook is titled “Trauma Informed Care Techniques for Adoptive & Foster Parents of Sexually Abused Children” and is available to families through the Department of Children & Families. Donna and Micheala also created materials for the Lauren’s Kids “Guide to Hope & Healing,” which is a collection of materials developed to help families who have just learned that their child has been sexually abused. The Guide is available to families through Lauren’s Kids. Donna’s primary responsibility has been to conduct evaluations of Safer, Smarter Kids, a sexual abuse prevention curriculum developed by Lauren’s Kids. To date, kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade curriculums have been evaluated. This year, 4th and 5th grade curriculums will be evaluated. Donna recently had an article published in the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal titled “Evaluation of Safer, Smarter Kids: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Curriculum for Kindergartners.”

Donna has been in the field of victim services for 23 years. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Florida State University and is a doctoral candidate in social work at Florida State University. Her career began as a courthouse victim advocate for Refuge House in the Second Judicial Circuit and as the Refuge House Rural Program Director. Donna has also worked at Tallahassee’s Children’s Home Society as the Family Builders Program Manager. Family Builders is a family preservation program that seeks to reunite children with their families or to prevent removal of children from their homes. Donna has also been a foster care supervisor. She continues her involvement with children in need of reunification with their families or the support to remain with their families by volunteering as a Guardian ad litem. She also teaches for the University of Southern California’s online master of social work program where she instructs students in program research and social welfare policy.

In her spare time, Donna enjoys knitting, sewing and other crafts. She loves spending time with her family, especially her granddaughter and grandson.



Guest Blog: Elder Abuse Summit

Visit fcasv.org to read our first guest blog written by Eileen Rodden, Women’s Center of Jacksonville and Regina Vought, Florida State Attorney’s Office, 4th Judicial Circuit. The blog discusses the recently held Elder Abuse Summit and the work made possible through the Abuse in Later Life OVW grant.

To read the blog, click here.

Chief Judge Mark H. Mahon receiving a plaque of thanks from Eileen Rodden, Abuse in Later Life Project Coordinator, and Ronnie Fussell, Clerk of the Court.

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.

Trauma Informed Sexual Assault Investigations Training

Daytona Beach, 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.

40-hour SANE Training

12/12/16 to 12/16/16
Ft. Pierce, FL

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

40-hour SANE Training

1/23/17 to 1/27/17
Key Largo, FL

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

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.