Excellence in Sexual Assault Response Project
The Excellence in Sexual Assault Response Project is a collaboration between FCASV and the criminal justice community and funded by the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. The Project offers free training, policy development consultation and technical assistance to law enforcement organizations and state attorneys’ offices on responding to sex crimes against victims 12 years old and above.
FCASV kicked off the Excellence in Sexual Assault Response Project with a meeting in Tallahassee at the Florida Police Chiefs Association on October 2, 2015. Law enforcement, assistant state attorneys, dispatchers, and advocates gathered to identify strengths and challenges to providing a trauma informed approach to victims of sexual violence. FCASV, along with a team of experienced criminal justice system representatives, will be providing learning opportunities and performance supports for individuals responding to reports of sexual violence. This can include: law enforcement leadership and command staff, dispatchers, patrol officers, detectives, and prosecutors.
Through a competitive application process, four sites were selected to participate in the project and receive the trauma informed sexual assault response training listed above. These courses are delivered to the following project winners:
- Alachua County Sheriff’s Office and Gainesville Police Department (Alachua County),
- Punta Gorda Police Department (Charlotte County),
- Dixie County Sheriff’s Office and Cross City Police Department (Dixie County), and
- Clearwater Police Department and University of South Florida St. Petersburg Police Department (Pinellas County).
In May 2016, FCASV staff and lead trainer Sgt. Rich Mankewich of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office spent two days in Charlotte County and another two in Dixie County with the law enforcement agencies, certified sexual assault programs, state attorneys’ offices and hospitals to map out the current response to sexual assault and assess training needs for the project rollout. Pinellas County and Alachua County visits took place in July.
The trainings, which started late summer 2016, also include train-the-trainer courses. Each agency designates their own in-house instructors who will be certified to teach the trauma informed response curriculum to their remaining staff and new hires, thus ensuring ongoing application of the new practices.
For more information on the Excellence in Sexual Assault Response Project, contact Jim Jolley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments by ESARP 2016-2017 Site Leaders
“The serial nature of these crimes is far reaching. In an effort to honor victim/survivors and to seek a better way to serve, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) applied for the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence’s Excellence in Sexual Assault Response Project. As one of the sites chosen in 2016 in the state of Florida, ACSO has had the benefit of state of the art training across the agency from dispatch, to patrol, to detectives and command/leadership… I encourage my Florida colleagues in law enforcement to consider ESARP for your jurisdictions.” Sheriff Sadie Darnell, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Immediate Past President, Florida Sheriff’s Association
“I am very appreciative of the Excellence in Sexual Assault Response Project for the exemplary training and policy support that has been provided to our university police department. The level of service our police officers can now provide to survivors has been greatly enhanced as a result of this project. The work of the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence is to be applauded in successfully bringing this project from concept to reality.” Chief David Hendry, University of South Florida St. Petersburg Police Department
“On a scale of 1 to 10, this project has been an 11 for us.” Lt. Michael Schentrup, Gainesville Police Department
“As a result of ESARP, there is a big improvement in the information law enforcement gets from victims, witnesses and defendants. It makes the case stronger.” Assistant State Attorney Joy L. Powell, 3rd Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office
“Sexual Assault investigations are a critical aspect of law enforcement, which always invite much scrutiny. Our agency views the FCASV Excellence in Sexual Assault Response Project as a unique way to enhance our service delivery to victims, conduct superior investigations, and provide needed skills and expertise to our personnel.” Major David H. Dalton, Clearwater Police Department