OVC Provider Forum Transcript

Serving Sexual Assault Victims in Rural Communities
Robin Clover, Tiffany Eskelson-Maestas  -  2012/4/4
Please discuss what might be unique in providing services to abuse in later life sexual assault victims in a rural community (victims 50 and over). Thank you
1.  Tara R.
 I know that the local Senior Center and Area Agency on Aging have facilitated opportunities to meet with older and disabled victims, providing referrals and space in their facility to meet privately with people.
2.  Tiffany M.
 may be helpful in integrating rural challenges and abuse in later life challenges to provide appropriate services. There is a section in there that discusses efforts at all levels in society; individual, relationship, community and societal. Not only can this frame be used for prevention, but it will also aid in developing programming for intervention efforts. You can access it at: http://www.nsvrc.org/publications/sexual-violence-later-life-information-packet
3.  Tiffany M.
 Physical isolation issues may also need consideration not only for safety, as an example, but other limitations that may be present based on the individuals age, health, etc. The physical isolation issue if they are living with the perpetrator may also be compounded by the perpetrators limitations as well, which would obviously need to be taken into consideration with the example of safety planning. In February, there was an OVC Web Forum on Assisting Older Victims of Intimate Partner Sexual Violence that may also provide other ideas for you. In addition, if you live in a rural community and understand the challenges, the National Sexual Violence Resource Centers Sexual Violence in Later Life: A Technical Assistance Guide for Advocates
4.  Tiffany M.
 With older adults, this may also require spending more time discussing their support systems (current or possible new ones) and how it would feel if people did know what happened, what would that mean? As a service provider, it is key to know and have a relationship with community resources that are appropriate for victims of sexual assault in later life as an option to begin building new support systems that may be more supportive. The core services for transportation issues may be the same for this population depending on age, limitations, etc or it may be transportation is not about taking them places but taking care of their needs or errands for them which may possibly require enhanced services in a pool of volunteers.
5.  Tiffany M.
 generational value system as well, however, giving someone permission to not have to do that with the sexual assault may be enough. Or, it may also be the very value that motivates their healing and can be used as a source for coping and healing with continued discussion on balancing when it is helpful or hinders. Dealing with everyone knows everyone can be one of the single most issues that keep older adults from seeking services, especially if they or the perpetrator are pillars in the community andor have long-standing roots in the community. Of course an emphasis on privacy and confidentiality is essential, but this is where we really find out what a victims needs are because this is most likely a priority area.
6.  Tiffany M.
 proactive efforts around confidentiality and privacy that go beyond state statute (like continuing to educate other service providers on the value of privacy), funds for transportation andor volunteers that provide transportation (with confidentiality in mind), and safety planning that is driven by physical isolation barriers. Some of these services may be helpful for sexual assault victims in later life but there needs to be intentional development of programming that integrates the rural community challenges and the challenges that exist for older folks to seek services. There may never be enough space to talk about a rural value of pull yourself up from your boot straps because this is probably deeply rooted in a
7.  Tiffany M.
 I think a strong foundation of core advocacy (as an example of service) and enhancing areas of the services based on community resources (with identification of gaps) is essential. Using core advocacy services as an example, the rural communitys greatest challenges for all victims of sexual assault may include deep rooted rural values of pull yourself up from your boot straps, everyone knows everyone, transportation issueslack of, and physical isolation. A service provider, using advocacy as an example, may have core services in place that address or minimize some of these challenges such as providing space to talk about the rural values and how they hinder healing for a victim,
What are the strengths (coping skills, support systems, etc) of the men/women whom you assist? What do they have that other people might be lacking? I ask this because I think it is important to use a strengths based perspective to identify areas in which we can foster the development of positive coping mechanisms for all victims of sexual violence. Perhaps there is an innate ability for one victim that we can teach to another. Thanks!
1.  Tiffany M.
 Im not sure though how any of these rural life experiences for coping would easily translate for other victims that havent experienced rural life. It may simply be hearing the stories and in itself would be empowering.
2.  Tiffany M.
 I agree that we certainly don't want to come across as comparing strengths and lack of certain strengths. However, I think one of the most powerful healing components for survivors are hearing from other survivors. I think there is some validity in rural victims of sexual assault considering struggles they have dealt with based on living life in a rural-frontier community. For example, it may not be a surprise to rural victims of sexual assault (say in Wyoming) that they may have to travel to another county to receive a medical forensic examination by a SANE. Simply because they know that transportation issues and access to healthcare in general is life in their rural community.
3.  Robin Clover
 The coping skills, support systems etc. are as varied as the people we assist. Helping individuals identify what is already there and the strengths they have already have is the most important thing we do. Helping them find their own strengths is what is important. We have to be very careful not to show or even imply that one victim is better or stronger than the other. No comparisons, not that we would overtly say or show this but, we must be very careful that our action and words dont make any suggestions of the right way to heal.
We're a Child Advocacy Center with a contract SANE and an on site exam room. We along with several other entities in our community have recently established a SART for adult victims. We'd like some discussion regarding accommodating adult victims that do not wish to have the involvement of law enforcement. Reimbursement through Victims Compensation is a possible hurdle. Establishing chain of custody for reports, labs and potentially rape kits may also warrant some discussion. Thank you.
1.  Tiffany M.
 There are of course a number of challenges that come up with implementation, and are then compounded by rural community challenges. Could you please clarify a few things for me? It sounds like your community is considering making the medical forensic examinations accessible to adult victims at your Child Advocacy Center, correct? Have you sought out resources (not funds) for developing your SART? Has your group discussed local challenges that already exist for adult victims that do report, involve, cooperate with, etc. law enforcement? I ask this, because if there are challenges and you dont discuss those first, they will become even more profound when developing programming for sexual assault victims to access the exam without law enforcement.
2.  Tiffany M.
 If you want to learn more about the forensic compliance mandates, check out the End Violence Against Women International website, they have a section for forensic compliance technical assistance: http://www.evawintl.org/Forensic-Compliance. You can also contact the National Sexual Violence Resource Center for a copy of Ensuring Forensic Medical Exams for All Sexual Assault Victims at resources@nsvrc.org. Also consider checking out the National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examination at the International Association of Forensic Nurses website, www.iafn.org or the SANE in your CAC may already have a hard copy of it.
3.  Tiffany M.
 Coming into compliance with the mandates for our state meant that we were able to create one statewide policy that addressed specifically who would be billed for the exam (state), who will maintain custody of the evidence (local law enforcement), how to maintain privacy of the sexual assault patient (use of the medical facilitys identification number), and how long the evidence will be stored (18 months.) As important as the details are for the forensic compliance mandates, I think it is even more important to keep this in perspective of the big picture of providing access to services for sexual assault victims. Especially when there are rural community issues that creates challenges and barriers for sexual assault victims to have access to any level of service.
4.  Tiffany M.
 The first thing this made me think of is the forensic compliance mandates from the 2005 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. This mandate allows for adolescent and adult sexual assault victims to receive a medical forensic examination without having to participate in the criminal justice system or cooperate with law enforcement, and they must have access to the exam without having to pay for it or to be reimbursed. States were to be in compliance with this mandate in 2009 (letter of the law here, it truly is a process), so you may want to check with your local rape crisis center (or dual domestic violencesexual assault program depending on your community) regarding any programming that may have been developed in your state for the mandates.
Ideas on best practices to handle rural victimization and when friends and family members of the perpetrator become involved, harassing the victim.
1.  Carmen D
 With this in mind, any other ideas that can be thought of, if the local tribal courts andor criminal justice system doesn't follow through with such orders? Any ideas, suggestions or experiences would help, but such harassment is a recognized and major problem with perpetrators, their families and our victimssurvivors where I am.
2.  Lisa Haggblom
 We assist victims with petitions for protectivesexual assaultstalking orders when they're being ganged up on by seemingly everyone. We help them identify what actions constitute crimes, and continue to assist with safety planning, including shelter if they want shelter.
3.  Tara R.
 I agree that criminal charges may be possible. Also, PA is working on a Protection From Abuse for Sexual Assault victims, who may not meet the criteria for a regular PFA for which parties must havehave had an intimate relationship or be related.
4.  Robin Clover
 Ideas on best practices to handle rural victimization and when friends and family members of the perpetrator become involved, harassing the victim.Many states have protection orders that are specific to sexual assault. Also if the behavior meets the necessary definition, stalking orders can be utilized. www.womenslaw.org/index.php, www.ncvc.org/ncvc/AGP.Net/ComponentsdocumentViewerDownload.aspxnz?DocumentID46683 If the behavior is surfacing in the schools (many times that is where the harassment is coming from) working with the schools to recognize and intervene is very important.
In a rural setting,especially the Latino/Hispanic population is likely to be very private and careful in sharing "their world" therefore are not incline to seek help ( for many reasons). What could be a powerful and connecting outreach program with this population.
1.  Jen Friedlander
 We have had a lot of success in this area as an agency. I haven't been here for that long so if you are interested, I can give you my contact info and connect you with other advocates who have been more directly involved in this important work. Some of the programs that we have developed:A Spanish-speaking training: basically our volunteer training in Spanish (free with snacks and child-care.) This training provides community members with accurate information & tools to help support other folks in their community. It also shows latino community members that we have many culturally competent advocates. Another way in which this training has impacted our agency is that many of the trainees decide to become volunteers (and many later become staff.)
2.  Tiffany M.
 We have found that relationship building is key, however our programs struggle with building relationships but not tokenizing their staff and volunteers, etc. Arte Sana is a leading organization in providing resources and support on sexual violence in Latin@ communities. Check out their website at www.arte-sana.com Their website is very comprehensive in areas of services they provide, information, and resources.
3.  Sarah Conaway
 In our community, we have an outreach program geared toward the HispanicLatino program. This would be a great opportunity to connect and educate the Latino community on domestic violence and sexual assault. It's a matter of building repore with those individuals they trust. The outreach program in our community offers ESL classes, have a food and clothing pantry, and they came come in for additional services....and learn more about DV & SA.
4.  Robin Clover
 Develop trust for your program within this population. They share information with one another. If there is someone from within the LatinoHispanic population that you have a relationship with ask for their help. Word of mouth, that you will provide culturally sensitive services, will spread.http://www.theirhope.org/PCAR-overflow/SARCC-Latino/SARCC_toolkit.pdf Understanding and helping this population with their immigration concerns is one of the most important issues for them. http://www.justice.gov/eoir/statspub/raroster.htm
What are the best way to educate rural communities about sexial assaults?
1.  Spruce Lynch
 Maybe making commercials to be aired during prime time television to get the message about what sexual assault is and the legal consequences of it.
2.  Lisa Haggblom
 We have Myspace, a multi-agency grant funded space for youth to come after school, where they receive tutoring, guest speakers, adult supervision, and honest discussions about dating violence, sexual assault, etc...
3.  Victoria
 How do you recieve the funding for these areas?
4.  Robin Clover
 Here in Sublette County we have a Thoughtful Committed Citizens Committee that works with us on identifying priorities for prevention and the activities that community members can identify with. Here is Sublette County we had a community readiness assessment done for the prevention of adolescent sexual violence. It was the most valuable tool I have come across to help educate our community. http://triethniccenter.colostate.edu/communityReadiness_home.htm
5.  Robin Clover
 Overall the best way to educate any community about sexual assault is to combine the awareness sexual assault with hands on tangible prevention (i.e. here is the problem and this is what we can do about it.)It is important to help our communities get invested; give community members something tangible that they can do. It is not just knowledge we want to give them but desire for action. The more they see their individual actions can make a difference the more engaged a community will be. One example would be to bring a community group together to help with prevention efforts. General community members can reach moredifferent people than just our agencies can.
6.  djeannoutot
 I've tried community presentations, vigils and other outreach but never seem to have too high of a turn out. The best thing I've found is simply having information for them to take in confidential places- or addressing it as a way to help others going through this rather than have you gone through this and are you needing help.
Are there any service models or specific tools available that could be shared with service providers in rural communities?
1.  Tiffany M.
 The Unspoken Crimes publication by the NSVRC also has a section that discusses difficulties for rural advocates that may also be somewhat parallel for other service providers. Another section discusses comments, insights and whats working in rural communities that might be helpful. Some of the areas they identified as tools for success in rural communities are in providing training, building and providing awareness & community outreach, community visits, community collaboration, media outreach, etc.
2.  Tiffany M.
 They discuss living environments that make them feel more frontier than rural, and an extreme lack of access to services instead of just a lack of access to services in rural communities. We also have two communities in Wyoming that are no longer considered rural by the US Census, however, they talk about the same rural values in their communities that other actual rural communities discuss. The idea of being inclusive in understanding rural communities beyond physical definitions is discussed in the National Sexual Violence Resource Centers (NSVRC) Unspoken Crimes: Sexual Assault in Rural America publication at http://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/Publications_NSVRC_Booklets_Unspoken-Crimes-Sexual-Assault-in-Rural-Americaຈ.pdf
3.  Tiffany M.
 How can we simultaneously address rural barriers and still provide access for sexual assault victims as a team? What territorial rural issues do we have among ourselves? And especially critical for rural SARTs, how do we engage the community on owning the issue and be involved in solutions in a way that will deconstruct rural barriers, like rural values that hinder a victims healing and access to services? Additionally, I think it is important to be open about how our rural communities are even defined beyond physical definition in adapting any model or tool. In Wyoming, we have communities that have always been described as rural. More recently, we are finding some communities would rather be described as frontier instead of rural.
4.  Tiffany M.
 I think the best service model or specific tool is the rural community itself. I think using general information on addressing sexual assault is helpful even for rural communities, as long as service providers are considering their rural community for implementation. For example, if a rural community is considering developing a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), one of the tools I would suggest is OVCs SART Toolkit (http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/sartkit). As a rural SART, I think the rural barriers need to be discussed at length and then discuss what impact those rural barriers will have on the teams development for example, are model policies from a tool realistic for our rural barriers?
I'd love to hear some of what you consider best practices in serving children and youth sv survivors in rural programs. More specifically regarding confidentiality, parental consent and information sharing. Thanks!
1.  Robin Clover
 This is a tough one. When working with this population, an understanding of mandatory reporting and what that entails is paramount. Establishing procedures with the child protection, law enforcement and criminal justice system agencies, outside of individual cases, is very important. Here, we cant give services to minors without parental consent. Within the older youth population we try to get permission from the parents for us to give the youth assurances that what they tell us will not automatically be repeated to the parents. One of the best things we can help these childrenyouth know is that they are not alone. Unfortunately many times rural communities dont have the ability (do to numbers) to form good support groups for children.
What programs are available for sexual assault victims in rural areas? I always thought that rural communities are close communities, is it more likely that rural victims have assistance from the community than an urban community
1.  Tiffany M.
 Another section discusses comments, insights and whats working in rural communities that might be helpful. Some of the areas they identified as tools for success in rural communities are in providing training, buildingproviding awareness & community outreach, community visits, community collaboration, media outreach, etc
2.  Tiffany M.
 One of the things I advocate within our communities is that as long as the community at large struggles with the facts on sexual assault, there will be no sustainable justice in the criminal justice system for sexual assault victims. I think it is critical that we consider our resources for community support at the same level we do for advocating in the criminal justice system. Also check out the National Sexual Violence Resource Centers Unspoken Crimes: Sexual Assault in Rural America publication at http://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/Publications_NSVRC_Booklets_Unspoken-Crimes-Sexual-Assault-in-Rural-Americaຈ.pdf The Unspoken Crimes publication by the NSVRC also has a section that discusses difficulties for rural advocates that may also be somewhat parallel for other service providers.
3.  Tiffany M.
 We have found that a rural community can be defined by a physical definition and layers of subjective definitions, like community values that are reflective of rural thinking. Many folks are close-knit either because they have to be by space, or by family, etc. However, rural communities still deal with the same myths and perceptions of sexual assault like other communities do. And I would argue, rural life compounds the myths and perceptions. For example, a rural community experiences a sexual assault in the high school. This sexual assault doesnt just split the high school students on siding, it literally splits the community on siding.
4.  Robin Clover
 In Wyoming every county has a dual DVSA program. It is more cost and time effective for rural programs to be dual.As far as assistance from the community I would not say that victims have more assistance. In fact many times it is more difficult to access services because of the fear in believing that everyone knows everything about everybody in small towns. Anonymity is more difficult.
Is the SAFV program only in wyoming or there other state that have this program too?
1.  Tiffany M.
 Other states also have organizations that serve sexual assault victims, like Rape Crisis Centers or dual programs like the ones in Wyoming that serve domestic violence and sexual assault programs. Not all communities across the nation are set up like Wyoming with a dual program in each county. I think one of the easiest ways to find out how sexual assault advocacy services are organized in a state is to reach out to your State Coalition. You can find contact information for them at the National Sexual Violence Resource Centers website: http://www.nsvrc.org/organizations?tid8&tid_1All
2.  Lineda Vue
 It a good thing that we have this program to help out. Because not all communities know about sexual assault.
3.  Robin Clover
 The SAFV Task Force is a county wide non-profit domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking program. Every county in Wyoming has one but we are all independent of each other. Services are basically the same, they just may be implemented in different ways.
Do any of your participants have suggestions for reaching rural community residents who are also members of the LGBT community?
1.  Robin Clover
 Additional resourses (end)Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)SAGEusa.org SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders) is the country's largest & oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual &transgender (LGBT) older adults.The Trevor Project www.TheTrevorProject.org The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention & suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender &questioning youth.The Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network (GLSEN)www.GLSEN.org GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students
2.  Robin Clover
 YouthResource www.amplifyyourvoice.org YouthResource is a Web site created by and for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (GLBTQ) young people. YouthResource takes a holistic approach to sexual health and healthy relationships by providing information and offering support on those and related issues.Hear My Voice hearmyvoice.breakthecycle.org The Hear My Voice campaign was created by Break the Cycle to educate & engage young people in the LGBTQ community to create safe & healthy relationships, and connect victims of dating abuse to help & legal services in their community.
3.  Robin Clover
 Addional resources cont.Gay Mens Domestic Violence Project gmdvp.org The Gay Mens Domestic Violence Project is a grassroots, non-profit organization that assists and supports victims and survivors of domestic violence, focusing on the GLBTQ community.The Northwest Network www.nwnetwork.org Founded in 1987 by lesbian survivors of battering, the NW Network works to end abuse in our diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities. Show Me Love DC! showmelovedc.org Show Me Love DC! is a campaign to raise awareness among LGBTQ teens about healthy relationships and provide resources for LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence.
4.  Robin Clover
 Addional ResourcesNational Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) www.avp.org/ncavp NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs, affiliate organizations & individuals who create systemic and social change. FORGE ww.forge-forward.org FORGE is a Milwaukee-based, progressive organization whose mission is to support, educate & advocate for the rights & lives of transgender individuals & SOFFAs (Significant Others, Friends, Family, & Allies).Survivor Project www.survivorproject.org Survivor Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the needs of intersex & trans survivors of domestic & sexual violence through caring action, education & expanding access to resources & to opportunities for action.
5.  Robin Clover
 There are two groups in particular that can be a good model for bringing individuals together. The GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) www.gsanetwork.org Gay-Straight Alliance Network is a youth leadership organization that connects school-based Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) to each other and community resources through peer support, leadership development, and trainingPFLAG (Parents, Friends, and Families of Lesbians & Gays) www.pflag.org PFLAG promotes the health & well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender persons, their families & friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination & to secure equal civil rights.
6.  Spruce Lynch
 Perhaps a good way to begin would be to organize meetings on the format of AA. Eveything is confidential. After a few meetings, people would gain confidence to step out and be who they are. They would have a supportive group that would help them out. They also might consider making public service announcements about the importance of diversity and tolerance in our country.
7.  Robin Clover
 I can only speak for SAFV but here our prevention specialist has an expertise in the LGBTQ community. We started by having all of our written material reviewed to make sure it was all inclusive not exclusive to the population. We also designed and displayed a Safe Space symbol. We have done community trainings on LGBTQ 101 (wordsdefinitions). We have partnered with the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault to bring three webinar trainings to the state. These webinars include providing services to this population as well as LGBTQ 101. Identify the youth in this population as at risk we are working with the school to help reach and support them.
Do you know of any programs that provide services to victims of sexual assault who live in long term care facilities? Victims report belatedly and in small communities are dealing with perpetrators who are known to them and the community.
1.  Ann Turner
 You also might want to consider contacting a Longterm Care Ombudsman. Ombudsmen are advocates for residents of institutional facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living. The often work much like an DVSA advocate with an emphasis on privacy and confidentiality. Not always...be sure to ask. You can find more information at http://www.ltcombudsman.org
2.  Robin Clover
 An important thing to remember when working with victims in long term care or any other type of group setting with the elder population is they are a small community and word gets around very fast. Many of the other residents may experience something that is similar to secondary trauma and they may also need support.
3.  Tiffany M.
 You can find contact information for them at the National Sexual Violence Resource Centers website: http://www.nsvrc.org/organizations?tid8&tid_1All
4.  Tiffany M.
 Absolutely, that is definitely one of the most common challenges for any sexual assault survivor in a rural community everyone knows everyone. This is why most commonly in rural communities the perpetrator is almost always known to the victim, and if someone in the victims social circle doesnt know the perpetrator, at least one service provider will know the perpetrator, the victim, or both. This is why it is critical to always be working on ways of building awareness on the value of privacy. I suggest contacting your local rape crisis center (it may be a dual domestic violence and sexual assault program). I think one of the easiest ways to find out about local sexual assault advocacy services is to contact your State Coalition.
Our service area includes a good amount of rural communities, but most of our clients come from the bigger towns and cities in the county. What are some ways we can outreach and raise awareness about our services to rural areas?
1.  Robin Clover
 I would suggest talking to the town council or local government of your more rural communities. Many times they can give your some space to provide services without having a full office. Spending time in these communities and being a presence there is very important. The communities need to see you not just the individuals you served. In order to do this you need to include funding for travel. Here we take turns going to the small communities. Between the four staff, one of us travels at least three times a week. Their mileage has to be paid but the space has been provided to us by a one of our town. We are there even when there are no clients to work directly with. We utilize that time to build relationships and do awareness and prevention work.
2.  Tara R.
 I know of a DVSA center in a neighboring county that used to go along with the public welfare programs to community locations. That way individuals could come under the auspice of visiting the public welfare program but be able to meet confidentially and safely with DVSA center staff.
Do you have a suggested curriculum to utilize when conducting youth sexual assault group sessions
1.  Robin Clover
 Off the top of my head i don't, but I know someone who would. I will get the info and post hopefully by the end of the day.
What advice do you have for building teamwork among victim serving professionals? There are alot of miles between our team members (LE,DA, etc.)and budgets are tight for travel. Without a solid team though we are struggling providing comprehensive victim-sensitive services.
1.  Robin Clover
 This is not just for victim services providers but for all human service providers in our county I but can very easily see this format also working for more specific victim service agencies.
2.  Robin Clover
 Something that works for us is what we refer to as Coordinated Care of Sublette County. We meet once a month over lunch (feed them and they will come). This gives all agencies the ability to touch base, share info and educate fellow services providers about specific agency goal and objectives. This was put together at the request of our County Commissions to ensure that there was no unnecessary duplication of services that the county helps provide funding for (the county pays for lunch). Even though this started out because of funding we soon recognized the value to our individual agencies and providing client center services. Best way I have ever seen to truly understand referral services.
3.  Tiffany M.
 We can relate to that issue in Wyoming, especially as a central community in a county works to incorporate a team approach in outlying communities within the county. We have taken advantage of technology here in Wyoming! We use webinars immensely, and have begun to use Skype as well. I also think because of this rural nature the necessary team components for skill building, trust building, etc are compromised. I suggest incorporating discussion around collaborative leadership and trust building activities now and then to sustain those important pieces of team collaboration that are often compromised.I will post resources on collaborative leadership that have been helpful for us.
4.  Lisa Haggblom
 It's important to have adequate internet bandwidth so spread out offices can communicate via web, or skype. Nothing is a substitute for physical presence, but when it's impossible, need modern technology (webcams, webinars, etc...)
What do you suggest for rural counties that do not want or trust someone from an outside county to work in their area?
1.  Robin Clover
 I total agree with what Ann suggested. First, supporting the community were they are coming from, then you can start to build a trust with them for your work. If you can build that trust with one individual they can help you reach the rest. To say this takes time is an understatement, sometimes it feels like there is not forward motion at all. Be patient, dont give up, it will come around.
2.  Ann Turner
 Attend any and all open community events that pertain to the issue. Building trust takes time but in my experience rural advocates totally notice who is showing up and who is showing an interest. Take leadership from those who have been working in the community for a time; they know their community well.
How do I get involved with programs such as these in my community and other surrounding communities?
1.  Robin Clover
 You can also go to United We Serve http://www.serve.gov. You can type in your service interest area and location to find out what is available for volunteering. (Not all agencies list volunteer opportunitys on these types of web sites)You can also ask agencies in your community about what is happening in the prevention arena and what communities members can do it the agencies you contact dont do the work themselves many time they know how does. Some of the agencies you could contact. Local rape crisis center or domestic violence shelter program, mental health, schools, prevention coalitions etc.
2.  Tami. A
 Start by checking out to see if your state has a statewide coalition either Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault and often the coalitions are dual. Or you can check out RAINN or the NSVRC websites. All of these places are a good start for finding a sexual assault service provider in your area for volunteer, work or help.
Right now our agency serves a large rural population (5 counties) through our program that supports survivors during forensic exams. We are limited in our ability to follow up afterward for folks who are in rural areas. Can you identify some creative ways to continue working with survivors even if it is over the phone? We have very limited funds for transportation, can't meet survivors in their rural areas and their really aren't many other resources we can connect them with in their areas. How is safety planning different in a rural area? Can you list some specific ideas that urbansuburban advocates might not have in their tool boxes? Thank you!
In rural areas close to the border, collaboration from everyone in the community is fundamental, in that matter; how can be encourage law enforcement to be more educated and sensitive in responding to sexual assault and domestic violence specially for battered immigrant woman.
1.  Robin Clover
 Here we try to provide law enforcement training to our Sherriffs department every year. Meeting with the Sherriff, we identity an area that needs to be addressed. In order to do this successfully we identify other law enforcement people to do the trainings. We are currently in the process of bringing a victim sensitivity training to our law enforcement.
2.  Robin Clover
 It needs to come from the top down; leadership in Law Enforcement must set the example. However before we can expect law enforcement to be educated and sensitive in responding to sexual assault of immigrant victims they need to first have those skills as it pertains to any victim of sexual assault. The thought here being that an increase in understanding of and sensitivity to sexual assault, will also have a positive effect when working with the immigrant population. However being from the middle of Wyoming I cant speak specifically for or to border towns. I would imagine that the emotionally charged issue of undocumented immigrants is far greater for them.
How do I start a sexual assault support group in a rural community where victims are afraid of being associated with sexual assault?
1.  Jenna
 This is also a question I have been exploring myself, did you ever end up finding any information that was helpful?
when working with youth of sexual assault what are some topics you would not discuss with the victims
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