Providing Victim Advocacy to Incarcerated Sexual Assault Survivors: perspective and lessons learned from a rural advocacy program

  • Description: In 2003 the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was passed as the first Federal Law to address sexual abuse in detention. In 2012, PREA standards were issued by the Department of Justice to provide detailed guidelines for all detention facilities on sexual abuse prevention, detection, and response. In 2012 RESPONSE, a rural, non-profit, dual service agency located in Aspen, CO partnered with the Pitkin County Jail to provide services to sexual assault survivors in the jail. In addition RESPONSE joined the Pitkin County Jail Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), which collectively drafted a protocol to meet the PREA standards.

    This workshop will provide an overview of sexual abuse behind bars, the need for trauma-informed advocacy services for incarcerated survivors, and how community-based organizations can successfully partner with corrections agencies. Presenters will share lessons learned from their experience including the benefits and challenges of corrections-community partnerships, staff and volunteer training needs, and materials developed as part of this project to assist participants to replicate this model program in their communities. This workshop is geared toward those with an interest in the subject of sexual assault within the incarcerated population, those identifying the desire to participate in or facilitate a community based SART, those currently participating in a SART, and those considering partnering with detention facilities to offer advocacy services to this underserved population.