Reno, Nev. – The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) and the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) are hosting a symposium of community leaders to stand against sexual assault and build a healing community for victims.
A Healing Community: The Effects of Sexual Assault and Trauma on the Victim will take place Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. in the Wells Fargo Auditorium in the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center at The University of Nevada, Reno.
This complimentary event will ignite a conversation about how traumatic incidents psychologically and socially affect a victim, and what the judicial system and law enforcement are doing to keep campuses and communities safe.
“There is a dialogue in the media about sexual assault and violent incidences on campus nationwide,” said Judge Deborah E. Schumacher (Ret.), member of the NCJFCJ. “Our community must be more informed and aware of victim trauma.”
As a leader in improving court practice in juvenile and family law cases, the NCJFCJ is invested in ensuring justice for those who come before the nation’s courts – and is committed to an open and honest conversation about the dynamics of victimization within our justice system.
“By definition, severe traumatic events are existentially threatening and forced upon a person against his or her will,” said Dr. Shawn D. Marsh, chief program officer of juvenile law, NCJFCJ. “Further, trauma is ‘in the eye of beholder’ in that the subjective experience and characteristics of the victim – coupled with the characteristics of the event – matters a great deal in the degree to which traumatic stress symptoms develop. When traumatic stress does develop, symptoms can include heightened levels of arousal, intrusive thoughts about the traumatic event, emotional numbness, and other thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that can interfere with day-to-day functioning,” he said.
“Sexual assault on college campuses continues to be an important national topic fostering much discussion and debate,” said Carol Millie, assistant dean, student conduct at the University. “Such attention should be viewed positively as it is helping to bring important dialogue to college campuses, including here at the University. In a ‘Sexual Conduct and Campus Safety Survey’ administered to all degree-seeking students at the University in November 2014, we learned sexual violence affects both men and women; men and women are victims, and men and women are perpetrators. Our goal is to strengthen campus efforts by contributing to a supportive campus climate that has zero tolerance for sexual assault, sexual misconduct and other actions that damage the lives of others.”
When justice system professionals understand how trauma impacts behavior and development across bio-psychosocial domains, they are better prepared to work with and help all that come before the court. “The NCJFCJ is frequently in a national coordinating role, setting the course for better education, policy and leadership to address violence against women,” said Eryn Branch, MA, program director of domestic relations, NCJFCJ. “We are all sensing the urgency of preventing sexual assault, and of responding to victims of sexual assault with trauma-informed and meaningful support. Real social change starts with robust and critical conversations just such as this one.”
Judges, court system providers, local organizations and direct service providers who work with victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, and youth in our community have been invited to attend the event. For more information, please visit ncjfcj.org/healingcommunity.
About the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges:
Founded in 1937, the Reno, Nev.-based National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, is the nation’s oldest judicial membership organization and focused on improving the effectiveness of our nation’s juvenile and family courts. A leader in continuing education opportunities, research, and policy development in the field of juvenile and family justice, the 2,000-member organization is unique in providing practice-based resources to jurisdictions and communities nationwide.
About the University of Nevada, Reno:
Founded in 1874 as Nevada’s land-grant university, the University of Nevada, Reno ranks in the top tier of best national universities. With nearly 20,000 students, the University is driven to contribute a culture of student success, world-improving research and outreach that enhances communities and business. Part of the Nevada System of Higher Education, the University has the system’s largest research program and is home to the state’s medical school. Bringing outreach and education programs to all Nevada counties and home to one of the largest study-abroad consortiums, the University extends across the state and around the world. For more information, visit www.unr.edu.
*The University’s “Sexual Conduct and Campus Safety Survey” results can be accessed at www.unr.edu/beheard.