Original Release Date: July 30, 2021
In episode three of our Research and Considerations for Sexual Assault Cases season, Just Science sat down with Natasha Alexenko, Jordan Satinsky, and Marya Simmons to discuss trauma informed, victim-centered interviewing for sexual assault cases.
A sexual assault victim’s experiences with law enforcement and advocates can affect the way they approach future interactions with the criminal justice system. By understanding that each victim is unique and will respond differently, investigators and advocates can meet the needs of the survivor and increase the likelihood of moving the investigation forward. Natasha Alexenko, Jordan Satinsky, and Marya Simmons have been working together to develop and promote victim-centered, trauma-informed interviewing strategies for sexual assault cases. Listen along as they discuss supporting victims of sexual assault, improving case outcomes, and maintaining victim engagement by using trauma-informed, victim-centered approaches during the interviewing process in this episode of Just Science.
This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].
Some content in this podcast may be considered sensitive and may evoke emotional responses or may not be appropriate for younger audiences.
Jordan Satinsky is currently the Deputy Director of the Special Victims Investigations Division in the Montgomery County Police Department. He has been a law enforcement officer since 1999. He has worked as a patrol officer, an investigator, a patrol supervisor, and an investigative supervisor.
Marya L. Simmons is the Founder and CEO of Shift in Notion Consulting, LLC, where she provides technical assistance, strategic planning consultation, and training to diverse audiences and communities on sexual assault, trauma-responsive and victim-centered best-practice approaches, domestic violence, victim advocacy, strengthening multi-disciplinary teams, life-skills and self-sufficiency, boosting leadership and supervision skills and techniques, and supporting families of homicide victims. Ms. Simmons is a consultant with RTI International as a subject matter expert in victim advocacy and with the State Medical Board of Ohio as a Victim Coordinator. Marya also serves as a Program Facilitator for the Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio where she oversees programming to elevate and promote confidence and self-sufficiency, inspire high self-esteem, and influence respect and integrity among girls ages 5–17. Ms. Simmons is an international and national presenter, has two degrees in criminal justice with honors, is currently enrolled in the Criminal Justice Administration Master’s Degree Program at Tiffin University, and is also a member of Tiffin University’s Chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honor Society. Previously, Ms. Simmons was the Victim-Witness Unit Supervisor at the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, and in this role, she supported victims and witnesses throughout the judicial system process. Prior to joining the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, she was a Justice System Advocate for victims of sexual assault at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center where she supported survivors of sexual assault. Marya is adept to working with diverse populations, providing crisis intervention, and supporting women diagnosed with chemical/alcohol dependency and mental health illnesses. Marya is a Registered Advocate with Senior Standing with the state of Ohio, serves on the Executive Committee for the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Response Team and the Leadership Committee for the Women of Color Caucus, actively supported victims associated with Cuyahoga County’s CODIS Task Force (Untested Rape Kit Initiative) since 2013, and she also received the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office’s 2016 award for Distinguished Contributions to Victim Advocacy.
Born on Long Island, New York, and raised in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, Natasha Simone Alexenko is a survivor, activist, and educator who has been developing national policies and procedures related to sexual assault for nearly a decade. Natasha provides technical expertise and advice on survivor advocacy, assistance, and prevention programs throughout the country. Alexenko has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other national and international publications. She has made guest appearances on broadcast and cable networks and was the focus of the HBO documentary Sex Crimes Unit. Alexenko shared her story at the historic 2015 joint press conference at which Vice President Joe Biden and New York County (Manhattan) District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. pledged a combined $80 million to help defray the cost and reduce the backlog of untested rape kits. Alexenko serves as a subject matter expert to Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance's Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Grants. In 2018, Grand Harbor Press published Natasha’s memoir, A Survivor’s Journey: From Victim to Advocate. Natasha presently resides in New York with her partner Scott, nephew Alex, mom Nevart, and dog Piper.