Office for Victims of Crime
Community-level Replication Guide
 September 2012 Text size: decrease font size increase font size   Send e-mail icon

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Step 4. Taking Action

Train Stakeholders

tipsTips From the Field

Take time to find out what your audience knows before you train. Staff from one pilot site were disappointed at the results of
pre- and post-tests after training one of the law enforcement agencies in their community. They realized too late that the reason the officers had not reported a large increase in learning was because they came into the training already aware of many issues related to crime against persons with disabilities.

Cross training can fill in the gaps for stakeholders in this project. Victim services staff, who may have little experience providing services to persons with disabilities, can increase their skills and awareness. Staff in disability services, who may not be aware of how prevalent abuse is or what to do when it is reported, can learn how to recognize and respond sensitively to abuse and other crimes against persons with disabilities.

Make use of your advisory committee or collaborative partnership to begin cross training with your own staff, disability service agencies, law enforcement, medical staff, and other victim service agency staff and volunteers.

For the three pilot sites, the primary purposes of the trainings were to—

  • Increase disability awareness/sensitivity.
  • Learn how to provide more accessible and welcoming services to crime victims with disabilities.
  • Share information about mandatory reporting requirements and responses to suspicions or disclosures of abuse.
tipsTips From the Field

Resistance can sometimes come from unexpected places. One pilot site found that 911 dispatchers were defensive and responded negatively to training about people-first language, which puts the person before his or her disability. The workers were concerned that their calls would be monitored for compliance. Break resistance down by being neutral, explaining the reasoning behind the particular issue, and making efforts to discover and address the concern behind the opposition.

Depending on the audience, professional training topics may include the following:

  • Dynamics and prevalence of abuse/victimization against persons with disabilities.
  • Dynamics of power and control in relationships.
  • Unique barriers faced by a person with a disability leaving an abusive relationship.
  • Possible indicators of abuse.
  • State reporting requirements for abuse or exploitation of persons with disabilities.
  • How to recognize and respond to signs or disclosures of abuse.
  • Safety planning for crime victims who have disabilities or those who are Deaf.
  • Disability etiquette and Deaf culture.
  • Communication with Deaf people and with persons with intellectual, speech, and visual disabilities.
  • Strategies for providing sensitive and accessible victim services.

Engage your audience with a mixture of lectures, discussions, activities, case studies, and role playing.