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Virtual Sessions

2023 Virtual Rural Conference Workshops

Can It Be Simpler? Emergency Housing Management for Survivors

Speaker: Mackenzie Masilon

One of the most time-consuming and tedious tasks facing victim advocates is securing quick, safe emergency housing for survivors who are displaced.  Whether it’s spending hours on the phone just to be told there are no available nearby shelter spaces or being unable to find a hotel that’s willing to use an alias name on a reservation for safety, emergency crisis housing is one of the most difficult to obtain yet pressing needs for victims of crime. This issue is only exacerbated by rural programs who operate in multi-county jurisdictions with little to no available shelter space to begin with. The presenters of this virtual session will describe Safe Stays, a tool designed by, and for, victim advocates to streamline searches for emergency housing options. Safe Stays allows advocates more time to do the important work of safety planning and resource navigation. Additionally, Safe Stays is a free-to-use, business-to-business hotel booking platform where agencies can book hotel rooms for their clients under alias names with no ID or credit card requirements at check-in. During this virtual session, attendees will be taught the ins and outs of creating a hotel program to serve the needs of their clients seeking emergency housing. 

Civil Liabilities in Domestic & Sexual Violence Cases (MCLE)

Speaker: Mark Wynn

What raises the level of professional standards lowers the chances for liability. What lowers the chances for liability raises the professional standards of the organization. This virtual session will guide the attendees through the legal authority and methods to managing liability using existing case law of “failure to protect” suits against law enforcement’s response, investigation, and prevention of domestic and sexual violence The dangerousness, complexity and liability risk of domestic and sexual violence will also be explored and discussed 

Court Interventions for DV Survivor CJS Navigation (MCLE)

Speaker: Christy Harness

Scott County Tennessee, one of the smallest counties in the state, has established an impressive, coordinated community response to serve survivors of domestic violence (DV) in their community while holding offenders accountable. At the heart of these efforts is their DV court and a dedicated core team that works seamlessly to ensure successful outcomes for individual survivors and, in essence, the community at large. During this virtual session, the presenters will describe the DV core court team and share what it took to build this response. How the DV court team has been able to continue and grow their efforts and strategies on how to replicate this trauma-informed court intervention in a rural community will also be discussed.  

Cross-Training: Recovery Coaches Working with IPV Survivors

Speaker: Diane Kinney, Rosemary Rosa

Intimate partner violence (IPV) and opioid use disorder (OUD) are two very pervasive phenomena in the U.S. that create complex and difficult challenges for victims and survivors, families, communities, and society. When combined, these challenges can become especially overwhelming. Unfortunately, within rural populations, the duality of these experiences and their subsequent long-term ramifications are multiplied largely due to geographic isolation, inaccessibility of services, and unaddressed acute essentials such as housing and transportation. Moreover, there is an extreme lack of training by service providers who tend to work in silos on cases with unique needs that can ultimately create additional barriers for survivors. This virtual session is designed to explore how cross-training OUD recovery coaches remove barriers faced by women training to achieve safety from IPV and enter recovery. 

Domestic Violence High Risk Teams in Rural Settings (MCLE)

Speaker: Sarah Galgano, Heather Davies

Studies have shown that survivors in rural areas report higher levels of intimate partner violence and higher severity of physical abuse when compared with their urban counterpartsRural survivors face distinct barriers to accessing help and services, amongst other factors, which increases their risk of intimate partner violence. The Domestic Violence High Risk Team (DVHRT) Model, created by the Geiger Institute in 2004, is an innovative strategy to prevent intimate partner violence related homicides. The Model incorporates evidence-based risk assessment into a community’s domestic violence response system to identify and intervene in the most dangerous cases. These cases are monitored by a multidisciplinary team that shares case information and implements coordinated intervention plans to mitigate the danger, increasing both survivor safety and offender accountabilityThis virtual session will provide an overview of the DVHRT Model, explore the applicability of the Model in rural settings and discuss approaches for adapting it to best fit rural communities using real world examples. 

Economic Justice & Advocacy: Innovative Initiatives for Rural Community Empowerment through Collaborative Higher Education

Speaker: Ziwei Qi, Rachel Dolechek

Rural communities often face unique economic challenges, including limited job opportunities, lack of infrastructure, lower wages, and limited access to essential services. These factors can contribute to disparities in economic well-being compared to urban and suburban areas. Knowing your communities and conversing with residents, stakeholders, and community members is crucial to developing an effective and sustainable initiative. As victims and survivors seek ways to seek resources in response to their abusive circumstances, there is a growing recognition for the need of comprehensive services and workplace practices to address the needs of survivors of gender-based violence (GBV), particularly regarding housing, economic justice, and trauma-informed care. When rural communities and higher education institutions collaborate, they can create long-term partnerships that contribute to economic justice by leveraging their resources, expertise, and networks. In this virtual session, the presenter will explore innovative collaborations between a rural Midwest higher education institution and community organizations working together to empower survivors of GBV through economic justice and talent development. This multidimensional effort that educates, facilitates collaboration, and fosters a culture of brainstorming within business communication and justice-based enterprises focusing on survivor support will also be discussed.  

Identifying & Supervising Victims of Intimate Partner Violence on Probation & Pretrial Supervision (MCLE)

Speaker: Michelle Hart, Gillian Clark

Probation, parole, and pretrial services professionals can play an important role in identifying and addressing the needs of victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) under community supervision. In addition, due to the nature of the work that community corrections officers do and the access that they have to the homes and lives of the individuals they supervise, they are also in a unique situation to recognize potential unreported cases of IPV. This virtual session will discuss the ways in which corrections can advocate on behalf of IPV victims. 

It Takes a Village: Creating a Coordinated Response to Stalking (MCLE)

Speaker: Jennifer Landhuis

Keeping victims safe and holding offenders accountable requires that diverse professionals, including but not limited to victim advocates, law enforcement, prosecutors, educators and others, view their work through a “stalking lens,” take pro-active steps to incorporate a stalking response into their roles and work together. This virtual session will provide practical strategies for building stalking into a coordinated community response. 

Organizational Substance Use Policies & Practices that Promote Program Safety in Rural Communities

Speaker: Gabriela Zapata-Alma, Katie Spriggs

The polyvictimization of survivors has underscored the urgency for traditional domestic violence shelters and sexual violence crisis centers to offer wraparound services to their clients in an effort to comprehensively advocate on their behalf. With these additional provisions and resources comes the need for a sound operational infrastructure, especially when working with survivors who present with victimization comorbidities or who face additional obstacles such as those who live in rural communities. This virtual session will provide concrete guidance for rural providers on organizational policies and practices that promote safety within program settings for survivors who use substances, survivors who do not use substances, children, and staff all within an accessible, culturally responsive, and trauma-informed approach. 

SART, Collaborate, & Listen: Navigating Challenges to Sustain SARTs

Speaker: Deepika Modali, Haleh Hemkat

Historically, the advocacy, legal, medical, and mental health systems have operated in isolation, making it challenging for survivors to get the support they need. Sexual assault response teams (SARTs) bring people together with different skills and perspectives in order to identify gaps and come up with effective solutions. In this virtual session, the presenters will discuss strategies for overcoming common barriers for implementing and sustaining an effective SART and explore how outcomes can be improved for survivors when agencies stop, collaborate, and listen to each other and their community partners. 

CASE STUDY: Shattered Summer: Unraveling a Domestic Violence Fatality through Technology Evidence (MCLE)

Speaker: Eric Jollymore

There is untapped potential of easily accessible digital information that has proven to be beneficial to the enhancement of domestic violence investigations. This case study delves into a tragic domestic violence investigation that led to a devastating fatality and explains how digital data could have altered the outcome of the case. The presenter, an investigator turned digital forensic examiner, will recount events, actions taken, and critical oversights during the investigation. How investigators can leverage technology evidence to prevent future tragedies and bring perpetrators to justice will also be discussed.  

Supporting Safety Together: A Guide for Activities to Improve Child Protective Services Responses to the Co-Occurrence of Child Maltreatment & Battering (MCLE)

Speaker: Maren Woods, Bree Adams Bill

Child Welfare Services (CWS) has a unique role in helping children and families secure safety, well-being, and stability in their lives. Always a difficult proposition, this task is complicated further when intimate partner violence overlaps with child maltreatment. Supporting the Safety of Battered Mothers & Their Children Together: A Guide to Assessing Child Protection Practice in Domestic Violence-Related Cases is a tool created by Praxis to guide advocates seeking to improve outcomes when child welfare services intervene in the lives of battered parents and their children. It guides community teams of advocates, child welfare representatives, and other stakeholders to collaboratively assess their child protective services response to the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child abuse. This virtual session will provide an overview of the guide and how it can be used in local communities, showcasing activities that can bring CWS and domestic violence advocates together to examine and strengthen the overall response. Exploration of key concepts such as safety and accountability, learning directly from survivor parents about their experiences of battering, and mapping case processing steps to reveal gaps in the system’s response will also be discussed.  

The Sovereignty of Safety: The Impact of Violence on Indigenous Communities (MCLE)

Speaker: David Adams

Within Tribal communities all across the country, Indigenous women are honored, uplifted, and depended upon for family sustenance, love, and harmony. Unfortunately, Indigenous women are also disproportionately abused, raped, and murdered in comparison to their counterparts. These atrocities stem from historical and chronic racism, colonization, and cultural oppression which has served as fertile ground for these gender-based crimes to exist. As such, Indigenous women face a variety of barriers on multiple fronts from within their tribal community as well as externally from societal institutions who still lack the insight, knowledge, and training to address their unique needs. This virtual session is designed to highlight and describe the prevailing investigative and legalistic issues inherent in Tribal cases. The presenter will examine jurisdictional challenges for prosecutors, criminal justice system challenges for victims and survivors, implications related to victim protective orders and offender bond conditions as well as the pervasiveness of strangulation within Tribal communities. The presenter will also discuss and analyze the disadvantages of survivors working with non-trauma informed attorneys and justice officials and offer prosecutorial strategies for trying Tribal gender-based violence cases while advocating for Indigenous victims of crime. 

Understanding the Dimensions of Substance Use & Why Survivors May Continue to Use Substances (MCLE)

Speaker: Tracy Evanson

Substance use in rural America amongst victims and survivors of gender-based violence is nothing new, however, fresh and innovative ways in which the issues are addressed is still a relatively novel concept. For practitioners and service providers who work in the domestic and sexual violence space to understand the uniquely personal dynamics of substance use experiences and the information on intersecting factors that contribute to ongoing substance use has been, and continues to be, a crucial gap that needs to be filled. This virtual session will describe and analyze the layers of complexity involved in substance use as well as demonstrate how advocates can be prepared to respond to survivors who use substances with a deeper empathy, active listening, individualized approaches, and collaborative partnerships with survivors. The presenters will also help clarify the connections between substance use and domestic violence and offer tips for opening conversations about substance use within domestic and sexual violence advocacy services. 

Working Better Together: Intimate Partner Violence & Substance Use Disorder (MCLE)

Speakers: Tara Kunkel, Molly Hicken, Christina Love, Kim Miller

As the intersection of domestic and sexual violence, psychological components, socioeconomic factors, and substance use disorder continue to plague rural communities, the need for an integrated approach to tackle these characteristics is vital. Studies show that multidisciplinary methodologies result in improved ways to bridge service provision gaps, keep victims and survivors safe, and hold offenders accountable. This virtual session in panel format that includes a victim services representative, a substance use provider, and a justice professional will describe the challenges that both practitioners and clients/survivors face when confronted with the intersection of intimate partner violence and SUD and will discuss tactics on how to overcome those challenges by identifying root causes, exploring unsuccessful responses as well as offering strategies for potential solutions.