We have also partnered with End Violence Against Women International to assist in regional training seminars- if interested please click on this link
Training & Education Descriptions
We have partnered with You Have Options Program (YHOP)
to conduct multi-day Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview Seminars - if interested please click on this link
The following descriptions are samples of some of the many presentations, workshops and keynote addresses we conduct
Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview – A Real Change in the Conversation
When human beings experience trauma, they undergo a process that many professionals – as well as the individuals themselves -- do not understand. Most of us inside and outside criminal justice have been trained to believe that when an individual experiences an event (including a traumatic event), the brain records the majority of details the criminal justice system wants to know about the event, including the “who, what where, why, when and how” – as well as other sensory and peripheral information. Therefore, when the criminal justice system responds to the report of a crime, most professionals are trained to obtain this type information. Unfortunately, trying to collect information about a traumatic event in this way may actually inhibit important psychophysiological evidence and the accuracy of the details provided.
Most of our interview techniques in the criminal justice system have been developed to question victims about peripheral information such as the color of the suspect’s shirt, a description of the suspect, the time frame of the event, and other important information. Some victims are capable of providing this type of information in a limited fashion. However, most trauma victims are not only unable to accurately provide this type of information, but when they are asked to do so they may inadvertenly provide inaccurate information and details. This frequently cause fact finders to become suspicious of the information provided.
The Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (FETI) was designed to change all of this. The tecnique has already proven to be a game changer in the investigation and prosecution of many forms of violence, including child abuse and adult sexual abuse. Use of the FETI process in domestic violence cases is also extremely promising for increasing successful interventions, investigations and prosecutions. This interview technique draws on the best practices of child forensic interviews, critical incident stress management, and neuroscience -- combining them all into a simple three-pronged approach that unlocks the trauma experience in a way that we as professionals can better understand.
- Explain the difference between cognitive thinking and experiential memory for victims of trauma
- Review the history of victim interviews in our society
- Define a newly recognized class of evidence called psychophysiological evidence
- Identify the elements of the Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview process
Sexual Assault Culture Change - Building a World That Doesn't Exist
Sex offenders thrive in a rape-prone, rape myth-accepting culture. This presentation will explore many societal myths and bias that enable the sex offender to operate successfully among us without suspicion and detection. How they deceive, why they do what they do, and how we can peer through the fog and identify them and their horrific acts will be discussed. Participants will be presented with up-to-date research, case studies, and strategies on understanding sex offenders from a criminal justice viewpoint.
This session will take what we’ve been taught about typical offender typologies and compare what we think we know with empirical research and current state of knowledge. Evidence on how offenders not only groom and manipulate victims, but coworkers, friends, relatives, neighbors, and professionals as well will be presented.
Media and entertainment also shapes our beliefs and values. This presentation will also take a critical look at the impact of media and the entertainment industry that promulgates many cultural beliefs surrounding the issue of sexual violence.
Sexual assault victims don’t witness sexual assault, they experience it, and the impact can be significant. We will explore what we now know about the neuroscience of sexual trauma and suggest better response modalities.
We will build on education, theories, promising best practices, and research to actively and intentionally change our culture to reduce—with a vision, to possibly eliminate the likelihood of sexual assault in our society.
- Identify rape myths that enable sex offenders to thrive in our society
- Understand the impact and neuroscience of sexual assault
- Define culture change and implement actions to create positive change
Adult Male Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention – Let’s Start a Movement!
Contrary to popular belief, sexual assaults committed against males are not an uncommon occurrence. Male victimization can and does have a profound effect not only on the male victim and their male counterparts, but also the females in their lives – for better or worse.This seminar will explore male gender socialization and the influences that hinder healthy expression of emotions. How the emotions and values of male identify are formed will be discussed, along with how these emotions and values are often conveyed.Male gender socialization can actually hinder proper healing following sexual victimization.Additionally, males often have grave founded and unfounded fears following adult sexual violence. These fears frequently become barriers to reporting and seeking help following these tragic identity-challenging experiences. Participants will be presented with hard-hitting video and audio examples to assist in understanding the overwhelming and frequent maladaptive reactions to male sexual assault. Cutting-edge research, coupled with contrasts and comparisons between female and male victimization will also be presented.
This presentation will be extremely beneficial to all professionals responding to male victims and the males and females in their lives. Law enforcement, mental health, health care, and criminal justice professionals as well as researchers and victim advocates will benefit greatly by this presentation. Ending violence against women can be more effectively accomplished with a better understanding of the implications and outcomes of violence against males.
Adult male sexual assault victims rarely report and have no movement to support them – now is the time to begin such a movement!
- Identify the impact of sexual assaults against males
- Understand male biology and emotions and gender socialization effecting the development of the male identity
- Differentiate between the themes and beliefs unique to male sexual assault victims and compare them with those that are also shared with females
- Determine the risk of PTSD of males exposed to specific traumas and the impact of multilevel ecological factors
- Discuss implications for first responders and implications for intervention, investigation, and victim advocacy
- Present ideas on starting a movement to assist men to report and seek help for sexual assault
Turning The Case Upside Down – Rethinking the Art and Science of Suspect Interviews
It’s time to take a fresh look at an age-old problem – suspect interviews. Reducing false confessions, deception, and false information have long been at the center of criminal justice interest and research. The desire to determining the truth – deterred neither by fear nor prejudice have been the focal points of research and development of proper interview/interrogation techniques.
For centuries suspect interviews have been the topic of great controversy in the criminal justice field. Throughout history numerous techniques have been used to educe information from those suspected of committing crimes. Torture, manipulation, and mind games have all been used to attempt to determine the truthfulness of those who have been accused of many types of crimes including murder, rape, child abuse, and domestic violence. It is absolutely imperative for criminal justice professionals to have the ability to investigate crime, uncover the facts, wade through deception and make determinations. This presentation will review the history of interrogation techniques and discuss the impact of numerous suspect interview/interrogation techniques and the efficacy of these techniques including substantial research that will assist fact-finders in determining some short falls in current interview techniques.
This presentation will challenge long-held beliefs in what works and what doesn't. Recommendations, including the newly developed suspect forensic interview technique will be presented.
- Review current research and conduct a critical examination of the history and methodology of suspect interviews
- Determine the efficacy of modern day interview/interrogation techniques
- Identify challenges with traditional interview/interrogation techniques
- Understand new and exciting interview techniques such as the European investigative interview and the presenters developed suspect forensic experiential techniques
Taking on the Tough Sexual Assault Case – Moving Beyond Unreasonable Doubt!
Reasonable doubt!! What is it? What is it not? How do we know when we have it or don’t? What impact does the presence of reasonable doubt have on the initiation, investigation, prosecution, and decisions made by the trier of fact? What place does reasonable doubt have in determining whether a report of sexual assault is taken seriously, documented, investigated or prosecuted? The answer may surprise you.
All too often, unreasonable doubt is inappropriately confused as reasonable doubt. When a report of sexual assault is made there is a process by which we filter the information. Most, within moments of hearing a sexual assault report will begin to make critical and all too often inaccurate judgments of the report and the reporting victim.
Information in many sexual assault reports such as delayed reporting, prior or post consensual contact between the reported victim and accused, previous reported sexual assault experiences, lifestyle preferences, victim behavior things that just don’t seem to make sense, inconsistent statements, etc., are often misinterpreted as reasonable doubt. These factors are common, although complex aspects which, if properly understood, should have no bearing on making determinations documenting, investigating or prosecuting reports of sexual assaults.
When unreasonable doubt kicks in so does our confirmation bias. Further unreasonable doubt causes narrowing of our “aperture” when responding to, investigating and prosecuting sexual assault cases. The effects of a case built on unreasonable doubt don’t just end at the summation of the investigation but play out in the response to victims, the court room, and the trier of fact. Unlike “unreasonable doubt”, reasonable doubt are facts or evidence that can prove or disprove that a crime occurred like evidence of consent, mistake of fact, evidence the crime did not occur, false information, etc. All too often there is a significant misunderstanding of reasonable doubt. Reasonable doubt is an essential aspect of jurisprudence and is the pinnacle decision when deciding to take away the accused liberty, resources, and even life. We often draw conclusions and make determinations about whether or not the report is credible, reasonable, provable, and most importantly, worthy of our time and effort through the lens of our own life experiences, beliefs and framework.
This presentation will focus on identifying elements of the sexual assault experience that indicate brain based responses to fear and trauma in an attempt to better clarify whether aspects of the report being viewed as unreasonable doubt are in fact evidence of a crime. The presenters will clearly and concisely provide information about common “red flags”. Strategies will be discussed to enable a better analysis thus overcoming societal and personal bias, which may inhibit finding the truth and context of the experience. Balancing the totality of the case against an accurate set of metrics, one that is not informed by “unreasonable doubt” but rather facts that provide the framework to either prove “positive evidence” or disprove “negative evidence” the reported crime.
- Presenters will discuss and identify common and intuitive victim behaviors often mis-termed “counterintuitive victim behaviors”
- Differentiate between what is viewed as unreasonable doubt and reasonable doubt
- Discuss the challenges of sexual assault cases and identify the Red Flags
- Mediate the adverse impact of unreasonable doubt
- Discuss and provide insight on how to mitigate confirmation bias
- Discuss balancing the case against accurate metrics
Collecting Forensic Physiological Evidence in Trauma Cases – Look…My Shirt Was Torn Too…
The torn shirt, the contusion, or the sexual assault kit don’t prove the sexual assault or traumatic event occurred or clarify the issue of consent or incapacitation, but they do tend to assist us in understanding the crime. They are all considered evidence and we often include this evidence as the case-in-chief. What about the nightmares, posttraumatic stress, depression, muscular pain and fear? Although these examples of forensic physiological evidence don’t prove the sexual assault occurred, if collected and properly explained, they can actually provide more evidentiary value in understanding the trauma and the effects of trauma on those involved. For centuries the criminal justice system has worked tenaciously to identify ways to identify and convict offenders through the use of forensic physical evidence. Volumes of criminal justice text books, countless research articles and thousands of experiments have been conducted to hone investigative and prosecutorial skills to preserve, collect, process, and articulate new and better methods to prove beyond a reasonable doubt – through the use of forensic physical evidence – that the accused is in fact guilty as charged. Unfortunately, all too many of cases of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other despicable crimes against humanity are unsolved or not prosecuted due to the lack of appropriate physical evidence. Many perpetrators are in fact intelligent enough to either effectively prevent creating any physical evidence in the first place. Additionally, some of these crimes cannot be proven through the use of physical evidence. This presentation will explore ways in which physiological evidence can be identified, preserved, analyzed and presented to take our cases from a one dimensional aspect to a three dimensional understanding of the full experience and impact of the crime and the trauma it caused. This session will review current forensic physiological knowledge and practices and compare what we think we know with new and exciting research and ideas, which will assist us in a better understanding of the realities and limitations of this new field of endeavor. There is emerging research assisting us in a better understanding of trauma and memory and the physiological consequences of stress and trauma. What we don’t know can have dire consequences on our investigations, interventions, victim advocacy, and prevention efforts. Law enforcement, judges, attorney’s, victim advocates, medical and mental health, and all other professionals working in the domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and child abuse fields will walk away with a better understanding of this exciting new approach.
- Define forensic physiological evidence
- Examine common beliefs and misperceptions about forensic physiological evidence
- Understand physiological reactions to stress and trauma
- Identify proper procedures for the collection of physiological evidence
- Analyze the meaning the forensic physiological evidence collected
- Discuss practical application and potential implementation of new investigative, Intervention and prosecutorial strategies
Sex Offenders – The Hunter & The Hunted
We can learn a great deal from successful hunters by examining their methods, tactics, and motives. There are many similarities between people who hunt animals and sex offenders who prey on humans. They routinely ply their trade in secret. Sex offenders are also extremely cunning and extremely effective in their criminal activity. They have a great capacity to fool not only their victims, but mental health and criminal justice professionals as well. This presenttion will explore many societal myths that enable the sex offender to operate successfully amoung us all without suspicion and detection. We will discuss how they deceive, why they do what they do, and how we can peer through the fog and identify them and their horrific acts. Participants will be presented up-to-date research, case studies, and strategies on understanding sex offenders from a criminal justice viewpoint.This session will take what we've been taught about typical offender typologies and compare what we think we know with emperical research and current state of knowledge. This comtrast and comparison will facilitate a better understanding of all professionals who work with adult and child victims of sex offenders and sex offenders themselves. We are not as safe as we think. What we don’t know will hurt us…and those we try to protect.
- Understand the prevelance of sexual violence and identify common sex offender behaviors and motives for their crimes
- Determine the danger sex offenders pose to our society by understanding the true nature of their crimes
- Explore strategies to reduce the risk sex offenders pose to our communities
Self Care – It Really is About YOU!
Working with victims and families who have undergone significant trauma WILL affect you in a significantly traumatic and profundly personal way – no matter who you are. There is a principle in the field of forensic science called Lokar’s Priniciple which states a preson will always bring something into a crime scene with them, leave something in the scene, and take something with them when they leave. The theory or emotional transfer works the same exact way. Each trauma victim brings something with them into the interview/intervention, leaves something behind – with us, and also takes something with them. Helping professionals generally receive vicarious trauma on a regular basis – often times without understanding the impact of cummulative vicarious trauma. This session will explore the many ways in which vicarious trauma is received and processed by most human beings and how trauma impacts all of us and the ones we care about. Participants will be given practical information and guidance on how to recognize cumulative trauma and avoid the devastating effects on personal health and happiness.
- Recognize the personal impact of vicarious or secondary trauma
- Understand the principles of self care
- Develop strategies to mitigate the impact of cumulative personal trauma
Deception Detection – Truth or Consequences?
Deception has both plagued and served us from the beginning of time. We are all masters and victims of deceit. Most of us have been raised to tell the truth, but are all effective on shading it when it is convenient or seemingly necessary. The truth of the matter is that truth matters - but our ability to detect it is extremely difficult and our skills at deception detection are often highly overrated. The cornerstone of criminal investigations and the criminal justice system is determining the truth and credibility – which in many, if not most cases is a seemingly impossible task. Deception is at the center of all criminal activity from victim selection, deceptive actions, and of course an effective tool to avoid suspicion and identification. Deception is the number one reason why victims often fall prey to those who would cause them harm. There is emerging research assisting us in a better understanding of trauma and memory and the physiological consequences of stress and trauma. This session will review current deception detection knowledge and practices and compare what we think we know with new and exciting research which will assist us in a better understanding of the realities and limitations of deception detection. Participants will also be provided comparisons and contrasts between what we now know about trauma and stress and how professionals can easily confuse the physiological reactions to trauma and stress with the physiological reactions to intentional deception. What we don’t know can have dire consequences on our investigations, interventions, victim advocacy, and prevention efforts. Law enforcement, judges, attorney’s, victim advocates, medical and mental health, and all other professionals working in the domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse fields will walk away with a better understanding of determining the truth deterred neither by fear or prejudice.
- Examine common beliefs and misperceptions about truth and deception
- Explore deception detection research – old and new
- Compare physiological reactions to stress and trauma with physiological reactions to intentional deception detection
- Discuss practical application and potential implementation of new investigative and intervention strategies
Voluntary Intoxication – It’s Not Consent for Sex You Know…
This presentation involves the profusion of sexual assaults that occur while the victim is under the influence, to some degree or another, of alcohol. The role of alcohol in our society, and more specifically, in the military social spectrum of dating and pursuing sexual encounters, is presented and discussed. A thorough description and understanding of this complex issue is at the heart of this presentation. Providing thorough information on how we all can become better at recognizing the effects of alcohol and its role in the fact that ethanol alcohol is the drug of choice for sexual predators is explored and processed. Multiple visual examples, and ample time for discussion is provided during this block, in order to help participants recognize and evaluate varying degrees of intoxication; this will assist in providing a foundation for assessing substantial incapacitation, and how that term fits within the realm of a complete and thorough investigation.
- Understand the role of alcohol on public and private decision-making
- Differentiate between the impact of alcohol on males and females
- Make determinations on the levels of incapacitation and consent
Behind Closed Doors—Marital Sexual Assault
The majority of sexual assault victims know their assailants. Despite this fact, the public still expects rapists to be weapon- wielding strangers who attack their victims in dark alleys. This expectation, grounded in cultural bias, victim blaming, rape- myth acceptance, and faulty expectations about victim behavior, creates unique challenges to the successful prosecution of non-stranger sexual assault. A current or former relationship between the victim and the defendant can lead to additional complexities that often make the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of an intimate-partner rapist even more difficult. Historically, additional barriers to prosecution were created by many jurisdictions’ criminal laws that sanctioned intimate-partner rape by exempting spouses from the rape statutes. Although the marital exemption is no longer codified, some allied criminal justice professionals have continued to ignore, dismiss, or blame victims of intimate-partner sexual assault. A growing number of allied criminal justice professionals recognize the validity of intimate-partner sexual violence and conduct aggressive investigations and prosecutions of these rapists.
- Define marital sexual assault, including co-occurrence of physical violence and sexual violence.
- Identify the environment.
- Apply strategies for disclosure and response to marital sexual assault.