Thursday, October 31, 2013

Responding to Sexual Violence in Disasters

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A CERT student asked: "What do we do if we come across a sexually assaulted child?"

During disasters the number and frequency of sexual assaults may increase, partly because predators may think they can get away with sexual assaults and not get caught.  Also, in a disaster people become more vulnerable and  susceptible to exploitation and violence. Their normal tendency to be cautious is lessened because they are suffering and seeking help.

Firstly, as a responder, you always have an obligation to report sexual assault to legal authorities as soon as possible. But before you do, you may be placed in a situation where you need to listen, comfort, and show empathy to someone who has been abused. This advice to law enforcement officers about responding to victims of violence may be used by other responders as well.

Click here for the complete article:

The Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault (LaFASA) and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) created a guide to ensure that planners for disaster relief and response do not forget to consider safety from sexual victimization and the importance of creating policies that could prevent it.  It provides important information about sexual violence and disasters so that communities develop better disaster responses. Its recommendations can be used in developing comprehensive plans, making preparations, and coordinating far-reaching policy change. The guide is arranged according to phases of a disaster, and the color-coded phases offer a multitude of things to consider. The ‘Getting Started’ work sheets in the back have been designed to facilitate the process of disaster planning.

Click here to get the guide to "Preventing Sexual Violence in Disasters."

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