Section 2: Understanding Sexual Assault from a Victim’s Perspective
4 Hours, 40 Minutes

Lecture Topic TOPIC: INTRODUCTION
(5 minutes)

Use SlideUse Slide #1: Understanding Sexual Assault from a Victim’s Perspective

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Use SlideUse Slide #2: Learning Objectives

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We’ve discussed the merits of a victim–centered approach to managing sex offenders, but before we move on to discussing how to create that kind of collaboration and the specific strategies we can use to bring it about, it’s important that we spend a few minutes talking about what we know about sexual assault: the various forms it can take, the impact it has on victims, the issues involved in working with victims, and the perspective that they can bring to our work.

Learning Objectives
(2 minutes)

At the end of this section, participants will be able to:

Introduction
(3 minutes)

As supervision officers charged with the responsibility of managing sex offenders, there will be times when we will be in contact with victims directly rather than working through advocates. We might find ourselves advocating for a victim–centered approach within our agency, or on our case management team. We may be the one who has to remind the team that we need to ask, “What is best for the victim in this case?”

As officers involved in community supervision, we are in a unique position in the criminal justice system. Our jobs require us to work not only with offenders, but with those who live and work with and around the offenders. We are in contact with all kinds of people, including the victims of crime.

Trainer QuestionWhat are some of the circumstances or reasons we might be in contact with sexual assault victims?

Note: Allow the audience to name as many circumstances or reasons for contact with sexual assault victims as they can. Write their answers on a flipchart or on a blank overhead slide. Possible answers include:

Because these contacts are likely, and because they are important to our ability to effectively manage offenders, it is essential that we have a solid understanding of the impact sexual assault can have on a victim. This knowledge can help us in a number of ways as we work with perpetrators to prevent further victimization. For example, it can help us as we try to make sense of the information—or misinformation—that offenders give us. It will help us to understand why a child victim of one of our convicted incest perpetrators is now denying that the abuse took place. It will help us when we are explaining to a family why reunification cannot happen until some time in the future. It will help us explain our case decisions to victims, interested community partners, and our supervisors. In other words, it is essential information for our work with sex offenders.

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