Towards Thriving Cover

June 15, 2017

Today, June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. We encourage community and tribal domestic and sexual violence programs to raise awareness on elder abuse and to continue to enhance services for elder survivors of abuse and sexual assault.

Elder abuse is a hidden yet growing problem that impacts older adults of all races, cultures, sexual orientations, social classes, geographic areas, faith communities, mental capacities, and physical abilities. Although definitions of elder abuse vary, the term generally refers to any physical, sexual, or psychological abuse, neglect, abandonment, or financial exploitation of an older person either within a relationship where there is an expectation of trust and/or when an older person is targeted based on age or disability.

Last year, the National Center on Abuse in Later Life created the Working with Older Survivors of Abuse: A Framework for Advocates report. This summary report describes seven guiding principles with minimum guidelines and practical strategies for advocates and programs to consider when creating or enhancing their services to better meet the needs of older survivors. Hyperlinks to 34 video segments of experts discussing key content are interspersed throughout the document. To download this resource with captioned videos, please click here. To download this resource with visually described videos, please click here. And the Resource Sharing Project previously launched the Championing the Wisdom of our Elders: Addressing Sexual Assault in Later Life resource collection that you can find here.

Here’s a few ways you can get engaged now:

  • Educate yourself and others about elder abuse & abuse in later life.
  • Raise awareness of elder abuse and abuse in later life through social and print media and awareness campaigns.
  • Take action in your community.
  • June is also PRIDE month and an opportunity to demonstrate strong support for the LGBTQ+ community and survivors of gender violence. The Idaho Coalition is partnering with the WCA to have a booth at the Boise Pridefest to engage young people on advocating for gender inclusive restrooms in public schools. Finally, as a commitment to increasing meaningful access to the LGBTQ survivors or gender violence, we encourage you to review the National LGBTQ Institute on IPV’s new website, a joint effort between the Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse and the National Coalition Anti-Violence Programs, organizations founded “by and for” LGBTQ survivors of abuse, knowing the power of centering survivors’ expertise when building solutions to violence.

    We Choose All of Us,


Gender Bias and Law Enforcement Response

Those of us who work with individuals who experience gender violence (sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking) are affected by our culture, which contains explicit and implicit biases. These biases affect our ability to respond to individuals who experience gender violence and show up in assumptions such as believing an individual who experiences violence should look or behave in a certain way. Or the belief that the harm from a sexual assault is lessened if the offense is committed by an acquaintance or if a victim is intoxicated. The intersection of racial and gender stereotypes and biases can pose unique difficulties for women and LGBT individuals of color who seek services.

The article “Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence”, produced by the Department of Justice (DOJ) begins to examine the compelling research that suggests that implicit bases are pervasive and that people are often unaware of how these biases can predict their behavior. Certain aspects of law enforcement response appear to be particularly susceptible to bias. As such, DOJ urges the consideration and integration of the following principles:

  1. Recognize and Address Biases, Assumptions and Stereotypes about Victims. Judgments should not be made as to the credibility of a victim’s account. Agencies should review and revise their policies and procedures as necessary and provide training on gathering information in an unbiased manner. Factors such as delayed reporting, the individual’s history, the individual’s emotional state, use or abuse of alcohol or drugs, an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identify should not impact the consideration of the complaint.
  2. Treat All Victims with Respect & Employ Interviewing Tactics that Encourage a Victim to Participate and Provide Facts About the Incident. Individuals who are treated with respect are more likely to continue to participate in the investigation. Determining how and when difficult questions are asked increased the quality and quantity of information law enforcement receives from individuals who experience gender violence. Neutral open-ended questions elicit a narrative of what happened and can lessen the perception of blame. The trauma-informed approach helps establish trust and encourage candor.
  3. Investigate Complaints Thoroughly and Effectively. Clear policies and training should address: collecting and preserving all relevant and corroborative evidence, ensuring forensic medical exams are completed and analyzed in a timely manner, identifying and documenting injuries and all psychological and sensory evidence and interviewing all possible witnesses.
  4. Appropriately Classify Reports of Sexual Assault or Domestic Violence. The determination that a complaint is unsubstantiated should only be made after a thorough and full investigation, not presumptively at the classification stage. All complaints should be investigated thoroughly, regardless of any of the following: if the individual has gaps in memory, if there are potential conflicts in the individual’s statements, the individuals expresses self-blame, the individual is emotionally distraught or unable to fully discuss the incident or the individual was under the influence at the time of the incident.
  5. Refer Victims to Appropriate Services. An individual’s medical, emotional, safety and other needs should be addressed at the time a report is made. It is vital law enforcement has a relationship with community-based advocacy organizations and local culturally-specific organizations or other organizations focused on underserved populations.
  6. Properly Identify the Assailant in Domestic Violence Incidents. The proper identification of the predominant aggressor in domestic violence incidents is essential. Considering and balancing the history of domestic violence, the motivation of each individual to be untruthful, the existence of past or present protection orders and criminal histories are important factors. Dual arrests should be discouraged.
  7. Hold Officers Who Commit Gender Violence Accountable. The legitimacy of the law enforcement agency is called into question if they do not fully investigate reports of gender violence perpetrated by its own officers. An internal investigation should be conducted and referred for prosecution when applicable, whenever an allegation of an officer-involved incident occurs.
  8. Maintain, Review and Act Upon Data Regarding Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. Agencies should assess whether their jurisdiction is under-investigation sexual assault or domestic violence by examining their own crime statistics. Collecting, analyzing and acting upon data is key to ensuring that law enforcement agencies are operating lawfully and effectively.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Landhuis.

Thriving Families – Listening Sessions

As part of the Thriving Families project, Idaho Coalition staff worked with Voices Against Violence to conduct listening sessions with the Latina community, specifically youth and mothers who have experienced relationship abuse. Participants shared powerful experiences about how we can better support Latina families and the great benefit of advocates in their journey toward safety and healing.

One courageous Latina teenager shared that she had nowhere to turn when she experienced racism and bullying. Without the love and support of her mother, she may have committed suicide, she said. Despite her mother’s ongoing struggles with experiencing domestic violence, she was strong for her daughter, and gave her hope. This speaks to what we know about protective factors – even one consistent, loving, support in our lives can make all the difference in the world! This teenager urged us to find our way deeper into the Latina community and for us to understand how racism can prevent people from reaching out for support. Voices Against Violence has multiple advocates that are working alongside the Latinx community. Voices continues to go deeper with under-served communities, the living example of “meeting people where they’re at”.

Multiple women shared how resources don’t match their needs, and that safety can look different for women of color and immigrants. Sometimes advocates or counselors may not realize the full lived experiences and fears clients face, and the importance of connection to community and culture. Women talked about how service providers can help them feel safer: Make it obvious that I am welcome and understood. Speak my language, understand my fear of deportation, fear for my children, the racism we face daily. How does my faith or community strengthen me, and how is it challenging me? Talk to me about this. Honor my parenting practices, beliefs, food, and desire to freely practice cultural traditions. Understand that what you think I need for my current situation may harm me. Seek to understand. Try harder to find me and reach my community. Help be a champion and make our community safer.

We were honored to work with Angie and Donna and the rest of the team at Voices Against Violence, and most honored to be entrusted by courageous women who came to these sessions.

We hope to continue to lift their voices through Idaho Thriving Families, hearing more stories, and sharing what we learn. We know that across Idaho we are all working hard to reach more underserved survivors and their children. We appreciate all you do.

For more information on the Thriving Families project, please contact Melissa or Mercedes.

Crisis and Support Line Tip Sheet

Resource Sharing Project LogoCheck out The Resource Sharing Project’s NEW Crisis and Support Line Tip Sheet, created for rural programs!

This guide was inspired by real rural programs around the country and is meant to be used while you answer the crisis and support line. One side provides helpful responses to use while you are supporting sexual assault survivors on your rural crisis and support line. The other side is for you to use after you have completed the call, including some grounding techniques to use.

Training & Events

The Mask You Live InThe Mask You Live In
Thursday, June 15th
6:00 – 8:30 PM MST
Farnsworth Room, Student Union Building | Boise State University
1700 University Driver Boise, ID 83725

The film follows the stories of boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity. Click here to view the film trailer.

Snacks and beverages will be provided at no cost. Feel free to bring in outside food or drink. Discussion to follow the film. For accommodations, please call 208-426-4249

abstract home

Webinar: Economic Empowerment with Survivors
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
1:00 – 2:30 PM MST | 12:00 – 1:30 PM PST
Many survivors of domestic violence have experienced at least one form of economic abuse and a survivor’s economic situation is often impacted for many months and even years after an abusive relationship because of this. Economic stability for survivors in transitional housing is imperative in order to achieve self-sufficiency and successfully move on to permanent housing. This webinar will focus on how advocates can begin to talk to survivors about their economic and financial situation in a trauma-informed way, and will give advocates useful tools to use with survivors. The presenter for this webinar will be Kim Pentico, the Economic Justice Program Director at the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

Register now

SPOTLIGHT: MANDATORY REPORTING BANNERVIRTUAL SUMMIT | Spotlight: Mandatory Reporting | Building Best Practice for Domestic Violence Intervention Programs
Thursday, June 29, 2017
11:00 – 5:00 PM MST | 10:00 – 4:00 PM PST

In this full-day interactive virtual summit, we will unpack the impact of mandatory reporting on help seeking and identify practical strategies advocates can use to decrease negative consequences of reporting and increase survivor safety and self-determination.

Results of a recent survey indicate mandated reporting impacts domestic violence survivors, and most often that impact is detrimental. 50% of survivors in the survey said the mandatory report made things “much worse.” Youth under 18 and trans* and gender variant people were especially impacted – almost half said that they had avoided seeking support for fear that they would be reported. Youth and especially LGBTQ youth are not talking to trusted adults about their relationships because of fear of being reported. In this webinar, we will unpack the impact of mandatory reporting on help seeking and identify practical strategies advocates can use to decrease negative consequences of reporting and increase survivor safety and self-determination.

with the National LGBTQ Institute on Intimate Partner Violence, a project of the NW Network and NCAVP

Register now

Civil Justice for Victims of Crime in Idaho

The seminar will explore how victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, child sex abuse, drunk driving, homicide, workplace violence, terrorism, elder abuse, identity theft and financial and property crimes can use civil lawsuits to obtain justice, hold responsible parties accountable, prevent future crimes, and obtain the financial resources victims need to rebuild their lives. The program will cover resources and strategies for victims considering civil lawsuits, and will include a panel of attorneys to answer specific questions of Idaho law. The training is for victim advocates, law enforcement officers, social workers, mental health professionals, and other allied professionals. There is no charge for any attendee, and a free breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack will be served.

Boise – July 31st, 2017 from 9:00-4:30
Concordia University School of Law
501 W. Front Street
Boise, ID 83702
Presented by: Jeff Dion, Esq., Lee James, Esq., and Craig Vernon, Esq.
Register here
Coeur d’Alene – August 2nd, 2017 from 9:00-4:30
Best Western Inn
506 W. Appleway Avenue
Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814
Presented by: Jeff Dion, Esq., Lee James, Esq., and Craig Vernon, Esq.
Register here


Idaho Coalition Store Materials

Engaging Voices Website StoreReminder that shipping for all material orders made by Programs on the Idaho Coalition website store is FREE of cost, please use the below coupon for all orders.

Visit the online store to view current Idaho Coalition materials available for order. For store questions, please contact Lacey Sinn.

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