Supporting the victim with a trauma-informed and victim-centered approach

Only 32 percent of rape victims ever report the assault to police. It’s critical that first responders understand the complex psychological, cultural and social challenges that sexual assault victims face as they move from trauma to trial.

How does trauma affect survivors?

Victims of sexual assault and violence often face a wide range of challenges after the trauma. Victims who speak about their assault can be misunderstood and met with a wide range of negative reactions, including: disbelief, shame, disgust, and blame. These reactions not only cause further damage to victims but hinder successful investigations and prosecutions.

Why a victim-centered approach is important

The fear of disbelief and rejection prevents many victims from reporting. In addition, victims can experience tremendous pain and emotional triggers when retelling their experiences multiple times to many strangers, including responding officers, medical personnel, investigators, prosecutors, and jurors. Worst of all, they will need to face the person who assaulted them in court.

Using a victim-centered and trauma-informed approach to both investigation and prosecution will help you yield better outcomes for sexual assault victims.


At the 2017 Trauma to Trial conference, we will cover Trauma-Informed Care

This approach focuses on developing an understanding of a person’s history and how it relates to the context of his/her experience. You will learn about the key elements of trauma-informed care:

  • The Impact of PTSD
  • Cultural Competence
  • Trauma-Informed Interviewing
  • Multi-Disciplinary Collaboration