OnLine Training Institute

OnLine Training Institute

Welcome to the OnLine Training Institute! Below you will find a list of all the available training modules. Click on each title for a course description and estimated time for completion.

When you’re ready to begin a course, click into the first item listed under Course Content. Use the navigation buttons at the bottom of the page to advance through the course.

If you require an accommodation, i.e., a large-print copy of our training materials, please email info@evawintl.org with specific details about what you need.   

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Browse Courses:

EVAWI 01 – Effective Report Writing: Using the Language of Non-Consensual Sex

Clearly, law enforcement professionals must conduct a thorough investigation and provide prosecutors with a thorough, written report in order to support the charges filed.  Yet, very few law enforcement professionals have been provided the training in how to do this effectively, especially in the area of sexual assault.  This module is designed to address this problem. 

Estimated time for completion:  4 hours

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EVAWI 02 – Dynamics of Sexual Assault: What Does Sexual Assault Really Look Like?

Much of the thinking about sexual assault has not changed in the last 20-30 years, because this thinking continues to reflect a number of myths and misconceptions about rape, rape victims, and rape perpetrators.  This module will examine those myths and misconceptions, the reasons for them, and how they affect the investigation of sexual assault.  It will conclude with an examination of the actual characteristics of sexual assaults.

Estimated time for completion:  5 hours

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EVAWI 03 – Victim Impact: How Victims Are Affected by Sexual Assault and How Law Enforcement Can Respond

This module will describe the symptoms and stages often experienced by sexual assault victims.  This information is provided in order to assist law enforcement and others in understanding the behavior of sexual assault victims and conducting their investigation in the most sensitive and effective way.  However, it is critical that officers and investigators remember that there is no universal reaction to sexual assault.

Estimated time for completion:  11 hours

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EVAWI 04 – Preliminary Investigation: Guidelines for First Responders

This module accompanies the Model Policy on Investigating Sexual Assaults established by the IACP National Law Enforcement Policy Center.  The purpose of the policy is to provide officers and investigators with guidelines for responding to reports of sexual assault, assisting victims, collaborating with local health and service agencies, and conducting interviews with victims, witnesses, and suspects. Because of the special needs involved in sexual assault investigations, this policy is an all-inclusive document that covers first response, investigation, and prosecution.

Estimated time for completion:  8 hours  

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EVAWI 05 – Law and Investigative Strategy: What Kind of Sexual Assault is This?

Although penal code definitions of criminal sex offenses vary, most are conceptually similar and can be understood by analyzing their elements.  This type of analysis is represented in the charts provided with this module.  By following the charts and making a series of decisions, law enforcement investigators can determine not only which specific crime was committed but also frame the entire investigative strategy based on the defense that is most likely to be raised.  Criminal sex offenses will thus be discussed conceptually in this module; this discussion must be supplemented with information from relevant penal code sections in your own jurisdiction.

Estimated time for completion:  5 hours

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EVAWI 06 – Interviewing the Victim: Techniques Based on the Realistic Dynamics of Sexual Assault

We will spend a great deal of time in this module walking through the stages and techniques for successfully interviewing the victim of a sexual assault.  However, the bottom line is that the attitude conveyed by the law enforcement professional is the single most important factor in determining the success of the victim interview – and therefore the entire investigation.  Therefore, we will provide detailed guidance in this module for communicating an attitude of competence and compassion during a successful victim interview.  Part I focuses on the Interviewing Techniques Based on the Realistic Dynamics of Sexual Assault, and Part II focuses on the Strategies for Conducting an Effective Victim Interview.

Estimated time for completion:  14 hours

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EVAWI 07 – False Reports: Moving Beyond the Issue to Successfully Investigate Sexual Assault

This module is designed to directly confront the difficult question of false reporting.  This will require challenging some of the “red flags” that often raise suspicion among criminal justice professionals and members of the general public, yet nonetheless represent the realistic dynamics of sexual assault crimes.  By doing so, we will try to answer those questions that have historically created a bigger hurdle for sexual assault victims than any lack of training or experience on the part of law enforcement professionals.  We can then move on to successfully investigate and prosecute non-stranger sexual assaults.

Estimated time for completion:  5 hours

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EVAWI 08 – Sustaining a Coordinated Community Response: Sexual Assault Response and Resource Teams (SARRT)

Because sexual assault is such a complex and sensitive crime, effective response to it requires a teamwork approach.  As a result, many communities have sought to meet these coordination needs by establishing a Sexual Assault Response and Resource Team (SARRT).  With such a model for coordination, each member of the team has distinct but interdependent responsibilities.  The purpose of this training module is to guide communities in overcoming challenges to responding to sexual assault — by improving the coordination of services for victims across professional disciplines and agencies.  Particular attention focuses on the long-term objectives that a SARRT can pursue to sustain these coordination efforts over time.

PLEASE NOTE: This module provides an in-depth overview on Sexual Assault Response and Resource Teams (SARRTs). If you are from a rural or remote community, we suggest you complete EVAWI 11: Sexual Assault Response and Resource Teams (SARRT): A Guide for Rural and Remote Communities. The information on how to develop and implement a SARRT is essentially the same in both modules, so we would recommend that you complete one or the other but not both.

Estimated time for completion:  12 hours

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EVAWI 09 – Reporting Methods for Sexual Assault Cases

In this module, we will provide information for officers and investigators who make the difficult decisions every day regarding how to record a report of a sexual assault.  As part of this decision, the primary determination to be made is whether the sexual assault will be recorded with an official crime report or an informational report, although the specific language and procedures for each will vary by agency.  As we will discuss in this module, the implications of this decision are very important, because they determine whether or not it will need to be officially cleared or closed once all of the investigative leads are exhausted. 

Estimated time for completion:  12 hours

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EVAWI 10 – Clearance Methods for Sexual Assault Cases

In this module, we will provide information for law enforcement officers, investigators, and supervisors who make decisions regarding how to clear or otherwise close sexual assault cases. These determinations can be extremely difficult, yet many law enforcement personnel are provided little or no guidance in how to make them appropriately. Therefore, in this module we will walk through the various ways in which a sexual assault case can be cleared or otherwise closed, and how some are not really closed at all but simply suspended or inactivated.

Estimated time for completion:  8 hours

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EVAWI 11 – Sexual Assault Response and Resource Teams (SARRT): A Guide for Rural and Remote Communities

For those who live in a community/region that is rural or remote, it is clear that such communities face unique challenges in responding to sexual assault.  The purpose of this training module is to guide rural and remote communities in overcoming these challenges by improving coordination of services for victims across professional disciplines and agencies.  The best way to do this is by establishing some version of a Sexual Assault Response and Resource Team (SARRT).  Many people think of the SARRT concept as applying only to urban settings, yet this module outlines the many benefits of SARRTs for rural and remote communities as well.  The module is filled with concrete suggestions for how to start, nurture, and expand a SARRT in any community, no matter how rural or remote.

PLEASE NOTE:  This module provides an in-depth overview on Sexual Assault Response and Resource Teams (SARRTs) specifically for rural and remote communities. This course will provide you with much of the same information for developing and implementing a SARRT that you will find in EVAWI 8: Sustaining a Coordinated Community Response: Sexual Assault Response and Resource Teams (SARRT). As a result, we would recommend that you complete one or the other but not both. 

Estimated time for completion:  9 hours

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EVAWI 12 – Effective Victim Advocacy Within the Criminal Justice System

Throughout this online training curriculum, we emphasize how important it is for professionals within a community to work cooperatively across disciplines.  A fundamental requirement for this type of collaboration is for professionals to understand each other’s roles, yet all too often this is not the case.  This module is designed to help address this problem, by clarifying the role of victim advocates particularly as it pertains to working with the criminal justice system.  This module is designed primarily for advocates themselves, but it will also be useful for other professionals who respond to sexual assault.  Training content begins with a discussion of the general role of victim advocates and then explores how this role differs between community-based and system-based advocates.  The module then goes on to provide specific strategies that advocates can use to successfully work on behalf of sexual assault victims within the criminal justice system.

PLEASE NOTE:  This module is a more in-depth version of EVAWI 13:  Breaking Down Barriers: The Role of Community-Based and System-Based Advocates.  This course is recommended for victim advocates, but other professionals are more than welcome to take this course as well.  The course material is essentially the same in both EVAWI 12 and EVAWI 13, so we suggest completing one or the other and not both.

Estimated time for completion:  14 hours

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EVAWI 13 – Breaking Barriers: The Role of Community-Based and System-Based Victim Advocates

As anyone working in this field knows, the unique dynamics of sexual assault all too often prevent victims from reporting the crime or participating fully in the process of investigation and prosecution.  Victim advocates can be extremely effective in addressing these problems, by providing victims with the information, emotional support, and proactive assistance they need. Yet it is important to understand how advocacy services were developed in order to better appreciate who victim advocates are, how they do their jobs, and how their role interfaces with the criminal justice system.  This module thus begins in Part I with a discussion of the origins of victim advocacy and the general role of victim advocates, before going into more concrete discussion in Part II of the module regarding the specific strategies that advocates use to successfully work on behalf of sexual assault within the criminal justice system.  The training is especially focused on clarifying the similarities and differences between community-based victim advocates and system-based victim advocates, terms that are defined in the module.

PLEASE NOTE:  This module is a condensed version of EVAWI 12:  Effective Victim Advocacy within the Criminal Justice System: A Training Course for Victim Advocates.  While that module was created specifically for advocates, this module is intended for other professionals who may, in the course of their duties, work with victim advocates.  This course will provide you with information that will help you to better understand the roles and responsibilities of the victim advocate.  If you have already signed up for or completed the course work for EVAWI 12, you do not need to complete this module as the course material is essentially the same.

Estimated time for completion:  9 hours

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EVAWI 14 – The Earthquake in Sexual Assault Response: Implementing VAWA Forensic Compliance

The purpose of this module is to increase understanding of the forensic compliance provisions in the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This module is primarily directed at criminal justice and allied professionals who address sexual assault within their community, region or state.

Estimated time for completion:  7 hours

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EVAWI 15 – Successfully Investigating Sexual Assault Against Victims with Disabilities

This module is written from a law enforcement perspective, providing information and guidance for first responders as well as investigators and even prosecutors. However, it is intended to be equally helpful for others whose work intersects with the criminal justice system, to ensure that people with disabilities who are victimized have equal access to information, programs, and services – and that they are treated with fairness, compassion, and respect. Everyone involved in the criminal justice and community response system plays a critical role in providing that access and fair treatment.

Estimated time for completion:  20 hours

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EVAWI 16 – Laboratory Analysis of Biological Evidence and the Role of DNA in Sexual Assault Investigations

This comprehensive module explores the complex role of DNA in a sexual assault investigation, including the alternative sources of DNA evidence and their potential significance or impact on a sexual assault investigation. A number of resources and tools are provided, along with a series of complex and interactive case examples.

Estimated time for completion: 32 hours

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EVAWI 17 – Untested Evidence and the Investigation of Cold Sexual Assault Cases

This module is designed to help communities address the complex challenges of untested evidence in sexual assault cases.  While the material is largely written with reference to cold cases, much of the guidance applies equally to current sexual assault cases and investigations that have been recently inactivated or suspended.

For example, we explore the “forklift approach” in detail and compare alternative strategies to prioritize cases for testing and follow-up investigation.  We discuss issues arising from the public disclosure of untested kits, including community education and media responses.  We then provide concrete recommendations for policies and practice, including the development or improvement of a Cold Case Unit and the creation of tools to prioritize testing and investigations.  Specific guidance is offered for notifying victims that their investigation has been re-opened, keeping victims informed of the status of their case, and providing ongoing victim support throughout the criminal justice process.  Perhaps most important, we highlight the need for sufficient resources to support the analysis of sexual assault kits and other evidence, as well as the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault cases – both old and new.

Estimated time for completion: 10 hours

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EVAWI 18 – Crime Scene Processing and Recovery of Physical Evidence from Sexual Assault Scenes

This module provides guidance on crime scene processing, a systematic, meticulous, and scientific process that law enforcement investigators should employ in every major criminal investigation.  This process is used to document and preserve a location where criminal activity is known or suspected to have occurred; it facilitates the location and recovery of physical evidence to help prove the elements of an offense; it generates information that helps outline individual investigative steps and an overall investigative plan; and it facilitates the identification of participants, such as witnesses and suspects.  It is essentially the foundation on which the entire investigation is built.  By applying the scientific method, investigators can explore competing hypotheses. This helps to prevent bias, by combating a natural inclination to form conclusions too early in the investigation.  It also helps to address possible defenses the suspect(s) may introduce during the investigation or at trial.

Estimated time for completion: 13 hours

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EVAWI 19 – Forensic Examinations of Sexual Assault Victims and Suspects: Role of the Examination in Sex Crimes Investigations (Part 1: Types and Purposes of Evidence)

The purpose of this module is to improve the use of forensic examinations to collect evidence from the bodies and clothing of both victims and suspects during a sexual assault investigation. The module goes beyond simply explaining the procedures that are used during victim and suspect forensic examinations. It also explores the different types of evidence that may be gathered during these examinations and describes how this evidence can be used to advance a sexual assault investigation. It also gives participants an opportunity to apply what is learned through case study activities.

Ultimately, the goal of this module is to encourage professionals involved in these cases to push past traditional ways of thinking about evidence, to critically analyze how each piece of information gathered fits into the complicated puzzle of a comprehensive investigation.

Estimated time for completion: 15 hours

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The OLTI was created and continues to be supported with funding from the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. However, the opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.