The Neurobiology of Trauma
The neurobiology of trauma and its implications for victims of sexual assault and law enforcement investigations is an important and emerging field of study that continues to expand quickly. End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) has compiled some of the most requested neurobiology of trauma resources that are currently available.
The Neurobiology of Sexual Assault is a free 90-minute webinar presented by Dr. Rebecca Campbell. This webinar explores the relationship between sexual assault, how the brain processes and recalls traumatic events, and how trauma affects victims' emotions and behaviors. This webinar is helpful to law enforcement and other professionals as they navigate investigations and prosecutions with a goal of improving relations and responses to victims. The webinar can be found in EVAWI's webinar archives along with a PDF of slides, transcript, and chat questions.
Two additional webinars on victim interviewing are also available from EVAWI. A Paradigm Shift: The Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (FETI) and Effective Victim Interviewing both provide guidance for successfully interviewing victims of sexual assault. A Paradigm Shift is the only webinar of the two, however, that specifically addresses the neurobiology of trauma.
EVAWI notes important articles on the neurobiology of trauma and its implications on victim behavior and memory. Dr. James W. Hopper's article "Why Many Rape Victims Don't Fight or Yell" (PDF) was published by the Washington Post on June 23, 2015. Dr. Hopper also co-authored an article with Dr. David Lisak in December 2014, entitled, "Why Rape and Trauma Survivors Have Fragmented and Incomplete Memories" (PDF). Both articles received wide circulation and are noted frequently.
EVAWI has compiled numerous online resources in the Best Practices section of their website. This section includes answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) and resources for law enforcement and other professionals on trauma-informed practices including fact sheets.
Although EVAWI does offer an OnLine Training Institute (OLTI) module on Interviewing the Victim: Techniques Based on the Realistic Dynamics of Sexual Assault, it has not yet been updated to include information on the neurobiology of trauma or trauma-informed approaches. However, this module does offer some valuable information and is recommended for viewing. In addition, EVAWI does offer technical assistance on law enforcement investigations of sexual assault, which does include the use of trauma-informed approach. For more information, please contact EVAWI.