Building Sexual Assault Advocacy Key Competencies Areas

Competency Area 1:

¨ Knowledge of sexual violence

¨ Recognition of multiple forms of sexual violence and prevalence

¨ Understanding of specific ways that sexual violence and domestic violence can intersect and differ

¨ Knowledge of self, your professional role, and your community.`

¨ Understanding of lethality issues

¨ No hierarchy of victimization

Without understanding these interconnections, we are only prepared to respond to one type of violence, and we may fail to consider the broader context in which the violence occurs. For example, an emergency physician or nurse who has received training in working with victims of domestic violence may intervene effectively with a woman who has been battered but overlook significant healthcare needs if they are not screened for sexual assault.

The same applies to women seeking shelter or advocacy services for DV – must-have skills and systems in place that create opportunities for disclosure. As a victim service professional, including professional ethics and boundaries, confidentiality, and professional development needs and opportunities

Competency Area 2:

¨ Informed by an understanding of trauma

¨ How trauma impacts survivors

¨ Short and long term

¨ Emotional, physical, psychological, spiritual,

¨ In relationship, communication, memory

¨ How trauma impacts first responders

¨ How to develop trauma-informed services

Competency Area 3:

¨ Communication with survivors

¨ Ability to recognize and address the need for multiple interventions and support options

¨ Ability to advocate for and engage survivors throughout the process

¨ Knowledge and ability to communicate the complexity of issues surrounding different types of SV as it relates to systems options

¨ Create space for disclosure

¨ Individual comfort

¨ Respect and caring for all survivors, including the ability to be open-minded and non-judgmental, develop trusting relationships, and maintain awareness of diversity and culture

¨ Ask (in open-ended ways)

¨ Allow for disclosure to happen at survivor’s pace

Not surprisingly, communication is a crucial competency area that includes multiple layers.

Competency Area 4:

¨ Individualized Assessment and Support Plan

¨ Ability to facilitate victim-centered screening, including the ability to assess experience, communication styles, assets, and needs (e.g., transportation, etc.)

¨ Ability to involve survivors in their planning process by helping them to understand options and exercise self-determination

¨ Knowledge of various screening strategies

Competency Area 5:

¨ Sensitive and Appropriate Response to Disclosure

¨ Examine personal beliefs and experiences with sexual violence and know the impact on attitudes and professional practice.

¨ Ability to identify a range of community resources (people, places, things, & money) that can assist survivors

¨ Ability to create and manage relationships and network with other community agencies and potential partners

Competency Area 6:

¨ Program and Service Delivery Design

¨ Recognition of unique needs of survivors with multiple victimizations/needs

¨ Ability to design programs using best practices (considering age, stage, and cultural appropriateness)

¨ Ability to evaluate and adjust programs based on survivor and community partner feedback

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