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June 09, 2010

Trauma Training for Multidisciplinary Audiences

 In Idaho 300 plus participants attended their annual 2 Days in June training Sponsored and Organized by the Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Victim Services. The audience included law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, medical professionals, sexual assault advocates, domestic violence advocates, child abuse professionals, court personnel, mental health clinicians and probation. It was the most diverse audience I've presented to in the past 6 months. 

It was an amazing day. The afternoon sessions brought up some interesting questions around the ability to successfully prosecute cases when victims have coped through dissociation. We explored the balance of moving a case forward while not traumatizing the victim. We discussed how to work with people with Dissociative Disorders in a mental health setting, a domestic violence shelter, a rape crisis program and child welfare.

We talked about how prosecutors around the country are becoming more successful in convicting sex crimes cases when they introduce trauma experts who know about trauma, dissociation and sexual assault/abuse. These experts can normalize the behavior of victims for judges and juries. One common challenge is when the victim presents with flat affect and no emotion at all. Credibility becomes a problem in those cases and knowing that this is a normal sign of trauma is important for the success of the case. We discussed that inconsistent statements about sexual violence is a norm and needs to be normalized for judges and juries as well.

It was a great day in Idaho.

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