2018 Full Court Press Regional Training: Building capacity for expert witness in domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking in Texas court systems  (2018)

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Underserved populations are often at higher risk of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking crimes and as such special attention combined with cultural competency is needed to address their unique needs and improve the effectiveness of the court systems’ knowledge about and responses to these crimes in Texas.

No such statewide training program or plan exists that considers; cultural competency in cultural specific and underserved populations; the gaps of knowledge about interpersonal violence; and the impact of those gaps on victims and victim restoration and the need for legal advocacy. Generally, courts are not holding offenders accountable, nor are courts as victim-centered as they could be.

The major aim of this project is to provide regional trainings that are responsive to community’s needs, to review and refine the training curriculum and provide technical assistance/case consultation to participants.

This project is designed to be responsive to the needs of 6 regional communities across the state of Texas. A two and a half day training will be held in 6 different sites across the state.  ontinuing education for lawyers and judges, peace officers, and victim advocates/professionals will be sought. The project is based on the rationale that increased awareness and education of professionals that make up our court systems leads to increase responsiveness of this system to crimes of interpersonal violence, and ultimately victims.

The Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (IDVSA) will use cultural consultants to assist  in the development of projects. Cultural consultants will be persons that represent culturally specific and/or underserved populations such as sexual orientation, people with disabilities, representation from rural areas, people of color, etc.

The objective is for participants to return to their communities; better able to provide culturally specific legal advocacy to survivors, better able to prosecute these cases, and ready to train on this topic and thus exponentially improve the effectiveness of the court systems knowledge about and responses to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking crimes in Texas.