First Responders to Sexual Abuse and Assault Training™
Although the crime of sexual violence has been in the news a great deal in the last couple of months, talking about it still results in feelings of shame, embarrassment and stigma. This stigma results in continued silence, inadequate resources for prevention and healing, and low levels of reporting the crime – approximately only 8% of sexual assaults in Canada are reported to the police.
‘Only 8% of sexual assaults in Canada are reported to the police.’
A first responder can significantly influence the reporting decisions of survivors. With a positive non-blaming approach, strategically placed questions and accurate information about available services and the law, first responders can act as bridges for survivors to access much needed services that foster healing and create access to justice. On the other hand, an inappropriate first response can make the immediate and long-term impact of sexual assault and abuse even more devastating.
‘A first responder can significantly influence the reporting decisions of survivors.’
In response to a need for cross sector training in this area, in 2011 AASAS completed a two-day training curriculum called First Responders to Sexual Abuse and Assault Training™. This curriculum is a comprehensive adult education curriculum outlining the knowledge and skills necessary for helping professionals to identify, respond effectively to disclosures of sexual assault/abuse and refer them to specialized supports and services.
‘AASAS offers a two-day training curriculum called First Responders to Sexual Abuse and Assault Training™.”
‘First Responders to Sexual Abuse and Assault Training™ isn’t a course that teaches professionals how to provide counselling or other interventions for victims of sexual violence’ says Corinne Ofstie, AASAS Strategic Initiatives Coordinator, ‘Think of it as CPR as opposed to surgery on the side of the road – It is the first response, something to bridge the gap between disclosure and access to healing.’
‘Think of it [First Responders to Sexual Abuse and Assault Training™] as CPR as opposed to surgery’
First Responders to Sexual Abuse and Assault Training™ is based on six Modules that are delivered over a two day period by Facilitators who have been certified by AASAS. These Modules include: Effective Communication, Child Sexual Abuse, Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment and Rethinking Prevention. With the support of the Government of Alberta, Ministry of Health and Human Services, 12 new trainees will be ready to deliver the training in the spring of 2015 province-wide. AASAS is also preparing to significantly expand the training program through centralized coordination and administration. With that, AASAS is pleased to welcome Tina Buikema, Training and Operations Coordinator to the AASAS team.
If your agency or organization is interested in receiving First Responders to Sexual Abuse and Assault Training™ please contact Tina Buikema at firstname.lastname@example.org.