Trauma Informed Approach on Sex Assault Victims

What is a trauma-informed approach?

Trauma is not just limited to experiences of violence; it can also include the act of witnessing violence as well as experiences of stigmatization due to race, gender, poverty, sexual orientation, and molestation. Trauma is a being’s response to violence and or other overwhelmingly negative experience.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one type of disorder that results from trauma-induced experience. According to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, these are some of the symptoms of PTSD:

  • Re-occurrence of events through flashbacks and nightmares
  • Estrangement ( the inability to establish an emotional bond with anyone)
  • Hypervigilance
  • Oversensitive startle response

A trauma-informed approach is a conceptual framework for clinical practice that mental health care providers take importance. These are some of the important factors that trauma-informed services do:

  • Always take into consideration the trauma experienced
  • Avoid triggering the trauma with similar actions to the patient’s experience
  • Ability to adjust behaviorally to the trauma patient
  • Orient the patients on how to manage their symptoms to access, benefit, and retain any help services provided for them.

Sexual Assault in School Campuses

The Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA)- a professional association for school and college Title IX Coordinators is making a discussion regarding the looseness of investigations made on-campus sexual assaults due to “trauma-informed” approach system.

The entity pointed out that officials tend to overlook the lack of evidence in campus sexual assault cases due to the basis of trauma-related symptoms on the victims. The association pushes their reasoning that memory being affected due to sexual assaults is not scientifically proven. ATIXA’s statement implies that trauma-informed approach is incomplete and controversial.

ATIXA’s strong supporters

With this statement from ATIXA, there sure is resistance and also an accepting party to the story. Well, activists who defend the rights of unfairly accused sexual offenders have now found another reason to back up their clients.

On the other side of the story, university officials and Safety advisors greatly object to the associations’ statement.

This represents a fundamental misunderstanding of what trauma-informed practices mean.

Statement from Taylor Parker, a consultant with Safety Advisors for Educational, Campuses LLC, compliance coordinator, and deputy Title IX coordinator.

 They want to find the next controversial statement and chisel out an area in the market. I think they are creating a problem that doesn’t exist so they can fix it.

After seeing this footnote on the ATIXA’s statement, Parker came out with the generalization of what could be only a publicity stunt by the association to gain attention on other agendas

 An association kit containing best practices for trauma-informed interviews can be purchased by members free or at a discount. Non-members can purchase the copy online for $499.

With the statement from AXITA, it is like they are questioning the years of hard work and expertise that mental health systems have put through to come up with guidelines on dealing with victims undergoing trauma. I hope it is just like some other hype methods such as those used with blockchain circulating the web.