February 8,

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The Weekly Snapshot                            
Your source for the latest tips, information, and current campus safety resources from the NCCPS.                       

Access Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month resources.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (#teenDVmonth) is observed every year in the United States during the month of February. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines teen dating violence as "the physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence within a dating relationship, including stalking. It can occur in person or electronically and might occur between a current or former dating partner." Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, almost triple the national average, according to a U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Special Report, Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim (PDF). Further, youth who are victims of teen dating violence during high school are at higher risk for victimization during college.
The CDC's teen dating violence fact sheet (PDF) explains why dating violence is a public health problem, who is at risk, how it can affect long-term health, and how to approach prevention. It also describes the different forms of dating violence, such as:
  • Physical: This occurs, for example, when a partner is pinched, hit, shoved, slapped, punched, or kicked.
  • Psychological/Emotional: This means threatening a partner or harming his or her sense of self-worth. Examples include name calling, shaming, bullying, embarrassing on purpose, or keeping him/her away from friends and family.
  • Sexual:This is forcing a partner to engage in a sex act when he or she does not or cannot consent. This can be physical or nonphysical, like threatening to spread rumors if a partner refuses to have sex.
  • Stalking: This refers to a pattern of harassing or threatening tactics that are unwanted and cause fear in the victim. 
Other organizations also include financial and cyber components in their definitions of teen dating violence where the offender will take away paychecks/income or prevent someone from working and send threats via text, social media, or email; stalk or humiliate on social media; access social media accounts or email without permission of the holder; or force sharing of usernames and passwords.
LoveIsRespect is one of the leading organizations working to "engage, educate and empower young people to prevent and end abusive relationships." LoveIsRespect was the first 24-hour resource for teens experiencing dating violence and abuse, and is the only teen helpline serving all of the United States and its territories. Throughout February, LoveIsRespect has planned twitter chats, a national respect announcement, a thunderclap, a national day of awareness, and a webinar to increase awareness and education about teen dating violence that coincide with this year's theme and the organization's 10 year anniversary: " Love Is...Respect ." To learn more, about the specific activities, including Respect Week (February 13-17), download the Respect Week Guide (PDF).
You can also find information on gender and relationship violence from Jana's Campaign, a national education and violence prevention organization that delivers educational programs on the prevention of domestic and dating violence, sexual violence, and stalking. Their approach includes classroom curriculum development; school assemblies and presentations; community/school service projects; gender-specific presentations; coaching boys into men; bystander intervention training; faculty/staff training and inservice workshops; parent presentations; counselor workshops; and policy review and revisions. Jana's Campaign also has programs specifically designed for colleges and universities.

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Download the SAK testing white paper.  
White Paper: Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiatives and Non-investigative Kits
Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) released a white paper entitled Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiatives and Non-investigative Kits (PDF). This position paper offers guidance on the storage of evidence in non-investigative sexual assault cases, or cases where a sexual assault kit (SAK) was collected and the victim did not choose to report to law enforcement and did not consent to its submission. In the past few years, multiple media outlets have reported on the volume of unanalyzed SAKs that are housed in law enforcement agencies nationwide. In 2013, the DOJ funded a project to the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Technical Working Group on Biologic Evidence Preservation to research and recommend best practices for evidence handlers. The resulting document, The Biological Evidence Preservation Handbook: Best Practices for Evidence Handlers (PDF), outlines instructions for the proper retention, safety and handling, packaging and storing, and tracking of biological evidence.
Several grants have been awarded to jurisdictions across the country to support their work to reduce the backlog of untested SAKs. Dr. Bea Hanson, former principal deputy director for the Office on Violence Against Women, stated in the white paper announcement that, "as professionals inside and outside the justice system work together to take inventory of SAKs, test the evidence they contain, follow investigative leads in the associated cases, and reach out to victims, they need to attempt to balance public safety and victim safety every step of the way." Finding that balance isn't easy. Policies that support the testing of all kits may hold perpetrators accountable and restore public trust in the justice system, though they do not account for the fact that not all victims who obtain medical forensic exams have consented to the submission of their SAKs for testing. This can cause victims further trauma, impact their willingness to assist law enforcement with a future investigation, and dissuade them from seeking medical care after they have been sexually assaulted.
It is OVW's position that "submitting non-investigative SAKs to a forensic laboratory for testing, absent consent from the victim, should not be standard operating procedure for a law enforcement agency." The white paper offers three key reasons why policies favoring testing non-investigative SAKs without the consent of victims are ill advised:
  1. Testing a kit before the victim has made a report to law enforcement undermines the victim's prerogative to decide if and when to engage with the criminal justice system.
  2. Testing a kit without the victim's express consent either to submit the kit or to report the assault to law enforcement is not an advisable way to cultivate community trust.
  3. Funding for testing SAKs is not unlimited, and grant funds should be directed to activities that promote accountability for offenders and justice and healing for victims. 
In addition to outlining this position, the white paper briefly describes alternative reporting options and provides links to resources that offer further guidance, information, and perspectives on sexual assault kits and sexual assault investigation.

Access our online calendar of events.
Professional Development Opportunities:
Title: Difference, Power and Discrimination as a Basis for Trauma Informed Care
Organization: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)
Date: February 15, 2017 at 1:00PM ET
Location: Online
Fee: Free for NCADV members
Title: Professional Sport Facilities Safety and Security Summit 
Organization: National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security
Dates: March 7-9, 2017
Location: Biloxi, MS
Fee: Registration fee
Title: College Mental Health Research Symposium 
Organization: Healthy Minds Network
Dates: March 19-20, 2017
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Fee: Free

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Trauma-Informed Sexual Assault Investigation and Adjudication Institute
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This project was supported by Grant No. 2013-MU-BX-K011 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the US Department of Justice.
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