Over 150 law enforcement professionals, prosecutors, victim service providers and others are expected to attend a one-day training on May 29, 2019, to hear from leading national experts in sexual assault response and investigation. Participants will explore how the trauma of sexual assault victimization impacts the behaviors, memory, and recall of survivors, and strategize how to improve criminal justice and community responses to better meet their needs. Using real case examples, the training will showcase best practices in sexual assault response and investigation, including alternative reporting options for survivors, an “Opening Doors” model of services, and the Start by Believing philosophy.

Cal Poly Chief of Police, George Hughes, highlighted the need for such training and a multidisciplinary approach to support sexual assault survivors and hold perpetrators accountable: “As law enforcement, our only way of holding people accountable for their crimes is if victims feel safe to come forward and report. To that end, it’s critical that we work together with advocates and other providers to ensure victims feel supported and safe to continue through the reporting process. This training ensures that our officers also have an in-depth understanding of how to recognize and respond to trauma in a compassionate and professional way, allowing us to conduct thorough and fair investigations.”

This one-day training will be hosted by the San Luis Obispo SART (Suspected Abuse Response Team) Advisory Board, in partnership with the San Luis Obispo Police Department, Sheriff’s Office, and District Attorney’s Office, along with RISE. Generous support was also provided by Cuesta Community College, where the training will take place.

Training will be provided by Detective Carlton Hershman (Retired) of the San Diego Police Department (APD) and Dr. Kimberly Lonsway of End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI). Det. Hershman (Ret.) served 32 years with the SDPD, implementing the Sex Crimes Cold Case Unit in 2007. During his 10 years in the Sex Crimes Unit, he investigated more than 1,300 sexual assault cases. Det. Hershman is a life time member of the California Sexual Assault Investigators’ Association, and has trained thousands of law enforcement, military, prosecutors, and advocates across the nation for the last 16 years.

Dr. Lonsway is a Founding Board Member and current Research Director for EVAWI, America’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to improving criminal justice responses to sexual assault. EVAWI provides training and technical assistance for thousands of professionals each year and is responsible for the nationally-recognized Start by Believing public awareness campaign. Before EVAWI, Dr. Lonsway served as the Director of Research for the National Center for Women & Policing, and the Director of Research and Training for Penny Harrington & Associates. She also taught psychology at California Polytechnic State University.

This training is funded through the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), Criminal Justice/Emergency Management & Victim Services Branch, Sexual Assault Response Team (XS) Program administered by RISE.

About RISE

RISE is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to transform the lives of sexual and intimate partner violence survivors, their families, and the community through services and education that promote safety, healing, and empowerment. RISE provides the following services: 24-hour support line, case management, restraining order assistance, accompaniment and advocacy, two emergency shelters, individual and group counseling, and prevention education. To learn more, visit RISEslo.org.