Across the Lifespan: Serving Older Survivors of Sexual Violence (Part 2)

Across the Lifespan: Serving Older Survivors of Sexual Violence (Part 2)
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2021-09-29
Unit 1Slide Deck: Across the Lifespan (Part 2)
Unit 2Transcript: Across the Lifespan (Part 2)
Unit 3Workbook: Across the Lifespan (Part 2)
Unit 4Recording: Across the Lifespan (Part 2)

This webinar is the second installment of a two-part webinar series on serving older survivors of sexual violence. The first part provided insights into the extent of sexual violence for older adults and the societal factors that hinder addressing the issue successfully. This session focuses on what we can do to respond to the cases and facilitate healing of the survivors.

LaShae Lopez is back on the Justice Clearinghouse to continue the discussion. LaShae is the Sexual Violence Response Coordinator for the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. She’s committed in serving the needs of communities that have been pushed to the margins and advocating for survivors of violence.

This webinar centers around:

  • Trauma: What it is, how people respond to it in different ways, and the neurobiological changes it brings.
  • How the brain during a traumatic event triggers certain responses and impairs some functions.
  • A rundown of the adverse physical, psychological, and social impacts of trauma due to sexual violence.
  • The advocate’s responsibility to understand and help older survivors identify the link between the trauma and health and social issues they’re experiencing and provide necessary resources to address these.
  • Responding to reports of sexual violence that is according to local statutes and recognizes the different trauma responses, the context surrounding the incident, and the dignity of the survivor.
  • The importance of creating a positive first response experience and show emotional validation through our words, tones, and non-verbal cues when working with survivors.
  • What to say to older survivors of sexual violence to demonstrate patience and empathy, acknowledge their resilience, and reinforce their agency through options and decision-making.
  • The two critical things to avoid when working with survivors.
  • Things that individuals working with survivors can do at a personal level to be more effective in their role.
    • Ensuring survivors’ rights and providing all possible legal options.
    • Working on internal biases and providing resources and remedies for different forms of trauma.
    • Focusing on survivors’ strength and resiliency and advocating their agency.
    • Considering age-related body image concerns.
    • Strategizing with age-relevant safety planning that considers physical limits and concerns.
    • Creating accessibility through representation, being mindful of the influence of culture, upbringing, and language and its impact on communication and understanding.
  • How organizations can better serve older survivors of sexual violence through…
    • Collaborations to foster working relationships and a more holistic understanding of the issue.
    • Diversifying and educating personnel and volunteers for more effective response.
    • Conducting outreach across different channels with older adults to familiarize them with services available to them.
    • Making agency forms and resource materials inclusive of the needs of older adults.
    • Age-appropriate sex and healthy sexuality education.
  • Ways to make organizations more accessible by…
    • Discussing accessibility and enforcing changes to accommodate clients’ needs.
    • Providing language options and training responders with basic phrases that are spoken within a community.
    • Transportation options for individuals who don’t have the means to appear at their appointments and meetings.
    • Offering diverse services and healing practices reflective of the community being served.
  • Efforts on the society level to better assist survivors of elder sexual violence by …
    • Advocating for better health care standards, interventions, policies, and research initiatives.
    • Putting conversations about sexual violence against older adults in the forefront including how it impacts their experiences and livelihood.
  • Providing healing options for older survivors that considers…
    • The varying trauma coping techniques and healing methods across generations.
    • Creative ways of holding the person that harmed the survivor accountable.

Questions from the audience are about:

  • What happens during the ‘fawn’ response.
  • References for plain language questions for survivors.
  • The applicability of concepts discussed to domestic violence cases.
  • Statistics on sexual violence against older adults.
  • Age when the changes in neurobiology occur.


Webinars in this Series


Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “Great webinar. Great tips and suggestions for working with older/elder adults. Thank you.” — Shelby
  • “The information provided was very helpful!” — Serida
  • “A very practical discussion of sexual issues affecting the mature population.” — Lauchlin
  • “The presenter LaShae was knowledgeable and lively. This was a great webinar. Thanks!” — JILL
  • “I found most valuable La Shae’s pacing and timing of her presentation, the great examples & pictures she used, and the comprehensive material on the subject which I found very applicable to people of all ages.” — Ruth


Additional Resources
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Across the Lifespan: Serving Older Survivors of Sexual Violence (Part 1)
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