Every year WCSAP hosts a conference to increase the skills and capacity of sexual assault programs and the systems that respond to victims of sexual assault. Each year a committee of Washington advocates help create a theme and select workshops that reflect best practices, current trends, and cutting edge topics around sexual assault.
WCSAP acknowledges the unique considerations and complexities of advocacy with child and youth survivors of sexual assault and their families. Advocacy support to members working with child survivors and their nonoffending caregivers promotes promising practices in carrying out Washington's core service standards specifically related to working with children. By striving to provide community sexual assault programs with the most current and relevant information, we learn from and contribute to the growing field of child sexual assault advocacy.
Cultural Considerations & Special Populations
Every community has different perspectives and responses to violence. These community perspectives and responses reflect how violence is a fundamentally different experience from survivor to survivor. WCSAP develops resources and provides support around meeting the needs of individuals in culturally and linguistically meaningful ways. We have created resources and considerations for working with survivors in diverse communities, such as African American, Asian and Pacific Islander, disabled, faith-based, LGBTQ, Latin@, male survivors, Native American, pregnant and parenting, refugee and immigrant, and survivors in detention facilities.
Crossing Borders Project
WCSAP is involved in a collaborative effort with Washington Coalition Against Domestic Violence's (WSCADV) Crossing Borders Project. The project aims to build grassroots leadership, increase organizational capacity, expand peer networks, and create a community assessment model for sustained sexual assault and domestic violence outreach, advocacy, and services. Staff reach out to organizations that work with immigrant and refugee survivors with the hope of increasing accessibility to services for rural latin@s and providing culturally meaningful community-based sexual assault and domestic violence services.
In addition to the Crossing Borders Project, WCSAP has compiled information broadly about working with immigrant, refugee, and latin@ survivors.
Advocacy with survivors of sexual assault has many dimensions, but is rooted in assisting survivors in their healing process and supporting their empowerment. General advocacy includes providing support around crisis intervention, safety planning, legal considerations and providing information, referrals, and other resources. Advocacy may involve taking a hotline call, meeting someone at a hospital for a forensic exam, explaining the legal process, or assisting a survivor with basic needs like safe housing or maintaining employment.
Incarcerated and Detained Survivors
Since 2012, WCSAP has been involved in a collaborative project with the Department of Corrections, the Office of Crime Victims Advocacy, and local community sexual assault programs, to bring sexual assault advocacy services to incarcerated people who have experienced sexual violence in a DOC facility or in the community. The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) requires most detention facilities to provide access to external confidential victim advocacy services. In addition to our work with DOC, WCSAP is partnering with leaders of jails and juvenile facilities to expand these services to all detention facilities in our state. We are proud of the work being done in Washington and are being looked at nationally as a model for service delivery and developing partnerships between victim services and corrections. We look forward to continuing to advance the efforts to support incarcerated survivors and promote zero tolerance for sexual assault in correctional facilities in our state.
Intimate Partner Sexual Violence
Intimate Partner Sexual Violence (IPSV) is an important concern for WCSAP and advocates throughout the state because it is a pervasive problem and one of the most common forms of sexual victimization, but it has often been overlooked. This form of sexual assault includes sexual coercion and assault by a partner or spouse and the sexual aspect of what is often called "teen dating violence." WCSAP has partnered with professional organizations representing law enforcement, prosecution, forensic nursing, and domestic violence advocacy to enhance effective response to IPSV.
WCSAP annually provides a lobby day opportunity for its members where they can meet with their state legislators and discuss relevant sexual assault policy and needs.
Prevention Resource Center
Washington State has been a leader in the primary prevention of sexual violence and the WCSAP Prevention Resource Center has been an integral part of this work. WCSAP provides Washington state specific information, such Washington's prevention plan and service standards, as well as information about best practice guidelines, relevant resources, and social change frameworks.
Program Management Support
WCSAP strives to build the capacity of organizations to operate effectively to prevent sexual violence and to serve all victims. We provide guidance on nonprofit management and organizational development issues, specific technical assistance to help Community Sexual Assault Programs in Washington State meet the accreditation requirements of the Office of Crime Victims Advocacy, and offer additional support for new program managers and programs undergoing transitions.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)
The month of April has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. WCSAP supports the Washington SAAM Campaign each year by developing and distributing an educational campaign with the assistance of a statewide committee. Over the last few years the campaign has been branded Be The Solution and has been widely adopted.
WCSAP attends meetings of state and national agencies to make the voices of survivors heard in discussions about victim services, sex offenders, the criminal justice system, technology, and prevention work.
WCSAP provides training and technical assistance to our members and other sexual assault professionals throughout the state. Among our training offerings are Therapist Core and Advocate Core certifications. We also provide single day trainings and webinars throughout the year on trending topics for service providers' ongoing learning.