Improving Sexual Assault Response within Special Populations Webinar Series

Improving Sexual Assault Response within Special Populations Webinar Series


Creating a victim-centered response to sexual assault within special populations is a critical component of improving support services to victims, maintaining victim engagement in the criminal justice process, and improving sexual assault case outcomes. A victim’s first impression of the criminal justice system happens at the time of the forensic exam and during the initial steps of reporting to law enforcement. This webinar series discussed important considerations to best support each victim in their unique circumstances with improved investigative and forensic examination techniques. The following topics were covered over the course of this series:

  • Providing gender inclusive care for gender minority populations
  • Addressing sexual assault on university campuses
  • Challenges surrounding sexual assault response in elderly populations
  • Understanding how race impacts sexual assault response
  • Addressing issues related to responsible reporting and effective prevention initiatives

Collaborators and Funding

This webinar series is brought to you by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCOE) in collaboration with the following partners. Funding for this webinar series has been provided by the FTCOE.

Dr. Lyndsie N. Ferrara is a forensic science teaching assistant professor at Duquesne University. She is a former forensic biologist at the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory (USACIL), a forensics specialist/contractor for the Department of Justice's International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) and project coordinator for a DNA mixture interpretation software company. She began working in the Duquesne University Forensics Science and Law program in May 2012, as a grant coordinator/program assistant and became a faculty member in 2014. Lyndsie's primary area of research relates to ethics education in forensic science. She also continues work related to DNA mixture interpretation. She is actively engaged with the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence through workshops and report writing. Lyndsie has a B.S. in Biology, a M.S. in Forensic Science and Law and a Ph.D. in Healthcare Ethics.

Dr. Julie Valentine is an Assistant Professor at Brigham Young University (BYU) College of Nursing and a Certified Adult/Adolescent Sexual Assault Nurse with Wasatch Forensic Nurses. Her clinical specialty and research focus areas are sexual violence, intimate partner violence, violence against women, and criminal justice system response to sexual violence. Dr. Valentine focuses on multidisciplinary, collaborative research studies uniting disciplines in sexual assault case reform to benefit victims and case processing.

Teresa M. Stafford is the Senior Director of Victim Services and Outreach at Cleveland Rape Crisis Center (CRCC). Ms. Stafford oversees the agency’s 24-hour response to survivors, criminal justice advocacy, Project STAR (sex trafficking, advocacy and recovery), and administers professional development trainings across the state and national levels. Ms. Stafford has over 20 years of experience providing direct service to both offenders and victims of crime, with specialization in sexual violence, domestic violence, and families of homicide victims.


Providing Gender Inclusive Care to Victims of Sexual Assault
This webinar occurred on August 30, 2018
Presenter: Ashley Smith

To ensure the care and safety of all sexual assault victims, it is imperative that sexual assault forensic examiners and investigators examine their practices to ensure all needs of the LGBTQ Community are met. This webinar will discuss and explore safe care of the sexual assault victims within the LGBTQ community and will focus on the transgender community to better understand the spectrum of gender. The presenter will discuss the difference between gender and sexuality and discuss ways to look at forensic practices to increase gender awareness and inclusion. The webinar will illustrate practical ways to incorporate education, awareness, and improve services provided currently to ensure victims from any culture may feel safer reporting sexual assault. Additionally, the presenter will discuss reasons why victims may not access care and look at the increased risk of sexual violence in the LGBTQ population. Further discussion will include the implications for investigators, forensic science examiners, and others working sexual assault cases involving gender minorities.

Responding to Sexual Assault Victims of Color
This webinar occurred on November 29, 2018
Presenter: Teresa M. Stafford

This webinar will give attendees an understanding of the prevalence of sexual violence in communities of color and the unique barriers to disclosing sexual violence. Survivors of color are often stereotyped and these stereotypes perpetuate the notion that survivors of color are willing participants in their own victimization. These stereotypes are often a result of implicit bias, which is a preference for or prejudice against a person or a group of people. We all carry different forms of biases within us and are often not aware that we have them. Our biases are triggered automatically through the rapid association of people/groups/objects and our attitudes and stereotypes about them. This webinar will challenge attendees to examine their own biases they carry as humans. In doing so, attendees will be given tools to assist with de-powering these biases to ensure that all survivors of sexual violence are treated with respect and dignity regardless of the multiple identities they carry such as gender, class, race and/or sexual orientation. Attendees will also gain skills to build trust and relations with communities of color with the hope of increasing reporting and offender accountability.

Investigating Sexual Assault of Elder Victims
This webinar occurred on January 22, 2019
Presenters: Debbie Feinstein, Jordan Satinsky, & Mario Wawrzusin

Sexual assault investigations within the elderly population require a unique and collaborative response. This webinar highlights strategies to improve support services and case outcomes for elderly victims through a multidisciplinary approach.

A Campus-Wide Response to Sexual Misconduct: Best Practices
This webinar occurred on August 7, 2019
Presenter: Elizabeth Seney

This webinar highlights the dynamics of campus sexual assault that may be specific to, or heightened in the context of, a college or university setting. Additionally, the presenter discusses best practices in three areas of response to sexual misconduct on campus – encouraging reporting and use of supportive resources; resolution practices (including investigative/adjudicatory processes, adaptable resolution processes, and coordination with law enforcement); and interim and post-resolution measures. The webinar integrates information about the legal framework within which institutions must operate (e.g., Title IX, VAWA, Clery, case law, state laws, etc) with the nuances of supporting students and creating a safe and respectful campus climate.

Providing Forensic Healthcare and Support to Native Communities
This webinar occurred on February 27, 2020
Presenter: Erica Gourneau, RN BSN SANE-A

In this webinar, the presenter discussed factors that forensic examiners should be aware of when providing trauma informed, culturally appropriate services to American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) people. The presenter reviewed relevant laws for forensic examiners and explains various jurisdictional factors affecting examinations, chain of custody, and prosecution. Additionally, she discussed types of health care services that may be available to AI/AN populations and provides further resources for healthcare provider training, clinical support, and survivor outreach.

Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence webinar series has been provided by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this webinar series are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Contact us at with any questions and subscribe to our newsletter for notifications.

Related Content

Discussion of the FTCOE’s Guidance Document on Considerations for Photographic Documentation in Sexual Assault Cases

Publication Sexual Assault Report, January/February 2024 Author Mikalaa Martin | RTI International Overview In August 2022, the FTCOE published a report, Guidance Document on Considerations for Photographic Documentation in Sexual Assault Cases, which presents photographic documentation practices and techniques for…

FLN-TWG: A Roadmap to Improve Research and Technology Transition in Forensic Science

← Back to FLN-TWG Main Page  Forensic Laboratory Needs Technology Working Group (FLN-TWG) The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), in partnership with the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCOE) at RTI International, formed the Forensic Laboratory Needs Technology Working Group…

In-Brief Report Series: Digital Transformation of Cold Case Reviews

Date November 2022 Overview Advances in forensic science and investigative capabilities represent opportunities and challenges for allied criminal justice professionals involved in violent crime cold case investigations. Modern techniques and technologies can uncover important insights that may not have been…