FCASV Insight August 2018

Letter from FCASV's Executive Director

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

As I prepare for this next chapter in my career and life, it’s humbling to reflect on the strides we’ve made for Florida’s survivors over the last fifteen years. While it’s difficult to enumerate all of the advancements, please take a moment with me to consider some of our team’s significant work.

More than 800 healthcare professionals have received our 40-hour Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner training. Hundreds of law enforcement officers and leaders have been trained in trauma-informed investigative techniques, and are now training others. Thousands of survivors have received life-saving services at Florida’s certified sexual assault programs.

FCASV has championed landmark victim-centered legislation that has significantly improved our state’s response to and for survivors of sexual violence. We collaborated with public officials, survivors, and other victim advocacy organizations to identify and promote necessary changes to Florida’s mandatory reporting law; end the statute of limitations on prosecution of child sexual abuse; and ensure that forensic evidence collected from victims’ bodies will never again languish, untested, while offenders go free. Not only have we advocated for public policy changes, we’ve also brought together sexual assault programs, law enforcement agencies, healthcare providers, state attorneys, and other allied professions to guide local communities in implementing statutory changes.

As hard as it is to leave FCASV, I’m confident in the knowledge that our team -- passionate, strong, and hardworking -- will continue to lead our state in the work to create safe and just communities for everyone.

Currently, FCASV’s Board is in the process of interviewing and selecting a new Executive Director. In the interim, I will remain in the office two days a week to ensure there are no leadership gaps during this transition.

I know you will continue to amplify the voices of those who are still ignored, working together in unity, and moving forward as leaders in your communities, inspiring others with the courage in your hearts and the goodness of your work.

It has been a tremendous honor to represent Florida’s certified sexual assault programs over the past 15 years. I count you not just as colleagues but friends, friends whose constancy has sustained me during the most challenging times. Your commitment to survivors, and to justice, will inspire me long into the future.

In solidarity,

Jennifer L. Dritt, LCSW

Join Us in Congratulating Theresa Prichard on Promotion to FCASV’s Associate Director

FCASV is excited to announce the promotion of Theresa L. Prichard, Esq. to Associate Director. For more than four years, Theresa has provided her leadership as FCASV’s Director of Advocacy and the Legal Assistance for Victims (LAV) Project. During this time, she’s provided countless hours of technical assistance to attorneys, victim advocates, and service providers across the state regarding sexual violence legal issues. She has also managed FCASV’s legal services to victims in the Tampa Bay area. Theresa has played a key role in advocating for survivors in the court room, in legislators’ offices, and at Florida’s Capitol. She will continue to lead FCASV’s advocacy and legal assistance projects as well as take on additional high-level management responsibilities.

Prior to joining FCASV in January of 2014, Theresa spent more than five years as an attorney at Legal Services of North Florida representing domestic and sexual violence survivors in immigration and family law matters. She graduated from the Florida State University College of Law in 2008, where she advocated for children in prison as a member of the Public Interest Law Center at FSU, and clerked at Legal Services of North Florida as a Florida Bar Foundation Fellow, providing representation to domestic violence victims.

Theresa is a committed leader with a strong tenacity to push FCASV forward in its work for survivors and the programs that serve them. Please join FCASV in congratulating Theresa on her new position.

Program Highlight: Suncoast Center

Suncoast Center, Inc. is the certified Sexual Assault Services Center for Pinellas County. We provide Sexual Assault Victim Examinations (SAVEs), STI and pregnancy testing, advocacy services, and therapy services to groups, families and individuals. Suncoast Center has four full-time advocates who work diligently to provide assistance to primary and secondary survivors of sexual violence. Over the past year, advocates created two well-attended support groups: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Art Support Group. They conduct an extensive amount of outreach throughout the county and conduct trainings, including: Trauma Informed Practices and Client Considerations, Crisis Intervention, Trauma Sensitivity, and Compassion Fatigue.

Suncoast Center also chairs the county’s Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), which meets monthly at a centralized location in Pinellas County. The Pinellas County SART’s mission is to provide effective prevention, and a coordinated response to sexual violence that makes survivors’ needs priority, holds offenders accountable, and promotes public safety. To that end, over 100 individuals from 10 law enforcement agencies, 3 colleges, 2 military installations, the State Attorney’s Office, and over 21 community agencies come together to discuss best practices, case studies, trends, questions, resources, and upcoming events. Working collaboratively, our SART has made huge strides in making system-wide improvements to ensure that victims of sexual assault receive necessary services as they go through their healing process.

Some of the team’s accomplishments include: crafting Pinellas County SART protocols, expanding on sexual assault evidence collection time frames, creating protocol changes regarding Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Kits evidence and toxicology kit processing, facilitating incapacitated victim’s consent procedures and drafting documentation to aid in these cases. Recently, the team hosted a "College Collaboration Day" where four local universities met to share prevention programs and learn more about the Sexual Assault Services Center and how they can help their students. Survivors, artists, and community members join with Suncoast Center for the annual Art Heals exhibit to bring awareness to the community.

Suncoast Center remains committed to empowering survivors and their families to heal from violence and provides urgent, intensive responses to adults and children who have experienced sexual abuse, sexual assault, or other trauma. We work toward a community that is free from future incidents of sexual violence.

Ask FCASV! 

This is a new column we’re starting where advocates, service providers, and others are welcome to send in questions related to our work in this field! We will select a question and FCASV staff members will provide a response in different editions of the Insight e-newsletter. Please send any questions to Courtney Nomina (cnomina@fcasv.org) and include this in your email header: “Question for Ask FCASV Column”. You will not be identified in the article. We look forward to receiving your questions!

Question from an advocate at a certified sexual assault program: I was hoping to get some guidance from you regarding an inappropriate caller we’ve been having on the hotline lately. I am not sure the protocol on how to handle everything and what we can and cannot do, so I just wanted to reach out and see if I could get some help. This caller is very explicit, disturbing and he has been calling pretty frequently for the past couple weeks. I let him know the last time I spoke to him that if he is not seeking services, then we cannot keep the hotline tied up because we have other callers that need our assistance. I have gone over our resources and there’s not much more we can offer because h

e doesn’t want the help. It’s been a very unsettling experience for me just based on e

verything he’s told me and what I heard while on the phone with him. I just wanted to reach out and see what you would suggest and if there’s any type of training that can be provided so we are better equipped to deal with these callers.

Response from an FCASV staff member: First, I want to validate what a frustrating thing it is to get those types of calls. In many ways it leaves us feeling disrespected and “violated.” I’ve received these calls late at night, as well. Over time they can leave you feeling helpless.

Sometimes we try to simplify the world by simplifying our thinking. In that world there are “bad” people and “good’ people. Perpetrators are obviously the “bad” people. But what we forget are the conditions that created those perpetrators. When we say that we’re being raised in a culture of rape, the people who perpetrate rape are a result of that very culture and, in their own ways, victims of it. In fact, some perpetrators are survivors who never received help.

I am not excusing abusive behavior or saying that any advocate should have to pu

t up with it, of course. What I am saying is that shifting our thinking a little allows the room we need to respond without judgement. Some days, when we have the energy at our disposal, it may be easier. It is very possible that these individuals are survivors that have coped by oversexualizing or hypersexualizing. For example, survivors often disclose porn and sexual addictions.

The majority of sexual gratification callers (aka sex-grat callers) are usually not interested in solving a problem. As such, they are abusing the helpline and you should simply hang up. However, I will caution that male survivors have also reported being mistaken for sex-grat callers when they attempt to discuss the ways that sexual violence has impacted them.

There are two schools of tho

ught on sex-grat callers. One school of thought says that you should end the call immediately if the caller openly admits wanting to or is in the process of sexual self-stimulation. Likewise, a different type of caller will want to take you through some sort of fantasy story. As soon as it becomes clear that they are doing that, you should also tell them it’s inappropriate and hang up. This stresses that the behavior is inappropriate and models appropriate boundaries.

The argument for staying on the line is that sex grat callers often do not believe that what they’re doing is wrong (or have a compulsion to do it anyway).

 They need help but are often unlikely to seek it. They may be more willing to seek it if they understand that others struggle with this and that advocates and counselors are not going to judge them.

But because of the nature of our work and the purpose of our helpline, I’d advise the former option – ending the call immediately. 
For more information, click here to access an article from John Plonski that, in more detail, discusses dealing with difficult callers. 
- FCASV Staff Member

Calendar of Technical Assistance and Training Events

For the 2018-19 fiscal year, FCASV has scheduled the following training and technical assistance resources and opportunities. Final dates and training topics may change as program needs change throughout the year; this calendar will be updated via the newsletter and on our website as needed to reflect changes. In addition to these opportunities, we will continue our legal advocacy on behalf of victims, as well as our work with rural communities. As always, please contact us with any questions and technical assistance needs you may have.

August 2018

Meetings/Trainings 
SART Toolkits - webinar

September 2018

Meetings/Trainings 
9/10-9/14, Largo, Florida - 40-Hour Adult/Adolescent SANE Training 
9/19, Orlando, Florida - SANE Clinical Skills Development Training 
9/20, Orlando, Florida - SANE Clinical Skills Validation Day 
9/24-9/25, Orlando, Florida - Leadership Meeting 
9/24-9/28, Davie, Florida - 40-Hour Adult/Adolescent SANE Training 
Resources: 
• Victim Compensation: Guidance Document for Sexual Assault Programs 
• Policy Update #1

November 2018

Resources: 
• Helpline Guidance Document 
• Policy Update #2 
• SANE Training Guidance Document

December 2018

Meetings/Trainings 
12/3-12/7, Panama City, Florida - 40-Hour Adult/Adolescent SANE Training 
12/17, Fort Walton Beach, Florida - SANE Basic Clinical Skills Development Training 
12/18, Fort Walton Beach, Florida - One-Day Advanced SANE Training 
(Date TBD) Monroe County, Florida - Trauma-Informed Sexual Assault Investigations Training

January 2019

Meetings/Trainings 
(Date TBD) Sexual Violence Injunctions – webinar 
(Date and location TBD) Advocate Training Institute 
Resources: 
• SAAM Toolkit

February 2019

Resources: 
• Remote Supervision Guidance Document 
• Policy Update #3

March 2019

Meetings/Trainings 
(Date TBD) Tallahassee, Florida - Leadership Institute 
(Date TBD) Tallahassee, Florida – Advocacy Day/Day at the Capitol (will coincide with Leadership Institute) 
(Date and location TBD) – Advocate Training Institute

April 2019

Resources: 
• SANE Guidance Documents

May 2019

Meetings/Trainings 
(Date and location TBD) – 40-hour SANE Training 
Resources: 
• Privacy, Privilege and Confidentiality Guidance Document 
• Policy Update #4

In addition to the calendar above, here are a few other things FCASV will be working on this year: 
• Sexual Battery Rights and Remedies brochures will be updated and distributed to programs 
• Regional Trauma-Informed Trainings for law enforcement agencies 
• Drafting and distributing a trauma-informed brochure/checklist for investigators 
• Producing a video for law enforcement on trauma-informed investigations 
• Translating portions of our website into Spanish 
• Translating parts of the Advocacy Core Training (ACT) into Spanish 
• Developing a web-based training on working with diverse populations

Upcoming Events and Trainings

40-Hour Adult/Adolescent SANE Training

September 10-14, 2018 
Largo, FL

For more information about the training, visit fcasv.org.

SANE Clinical Skills Development Training

September 19, 2018 
Orlando, FL

For more information about the training, visit fcasv.org.

SANE Clinical Skills Validation Day

September 20, 2018 
Orlando, FL

For more information about the day and to register, visit fcasv.org.

40-Hour Adult/Adolescent SANE Training

September 24-28, 2018 
Davie, FL

For more information about the training and to register, visit fcasv.org.

40-Hour Adult/Adolescent SANE Training

December 3-7, 2018 
Panama City, FL

For more information about the training and to register, visit fcasv.org.

SANE Basic Clinical Skills Development Training

December 17, 2018 
Fort Walton Beach, FL

For more information about the training and to register, visit fcasv.org.

One-Day Advanced SANE Training

December 18, 2018 
Fort Walton Beach, FL

For more information about the training and to register, visit fcasv.org.

 

 

This project was supported by subgrant No. COHK4 awarded by the state administering office for the STOP Formula Grant Program. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the state or the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.