How will Virtual Reality and the Metaverse Affect the Way We Interact, Work, and Fight for Survivors

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60 Minutes

Originally Aired
April 11, 2023

Mike Schentrup
Mike Schentrup
Captain, Gainesville Police Department (Ret.)
Wendy Patrick
Wendy Patrick JD, PhD
Deputy District Attorney

This presentation will examine how Virtual Reality will impact the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault and domestic violence. In 2021, Facebook announced it was spending $10B on building its Metaverse. This was a clear signal that virtual reality (VR) worlds are here to stay. In these realms, people have avatars and interact with other people via their avatars. In the VR world, companies are now building their own spaces, such as Wendy’s, that opened a virtual restaurant.

As VR realms attract more users, real world problems will begin to worsen; however, real world opportunities may evolve also. Recently, a women reported feeling as if she was sexually assaulted in the Metaverse, although it was her avatar that was surrounded and groped, to her it felt real. Cyber harassment/stalking is a real-world issue, but what will it look like in VR? VR can also be used for good. This session will explore opportunities such as a sexual assault resource center inside the Metaverse, where survivors can come as an avatar and meet with an advocate or even discuss their case with a law enforcement officer, as well as training opportunities that are created to teach better survivor interviews to investigators.


As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  • Describe what virtual reality is and how people interact within these realms.
  • Identify current problems within these realms, such as cyberbullying and cyberstalking, and what laws may apply to these situations.
  • Recognize there are opportunities to interact with survivors within these VR worlds.
  • Identify several ways VR can be used to train Law Enforcement, SANEs, and advocates.

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