Project Summary for 2002-WG-BX-0008
The Vera Institute of Justice in partnership with Safe Horizon and the Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress at the University of Washington's Harborview Medical Center propose to develop an intervention to help sexual assault survivors reduce the risk of further assault. In the exploratory phase, in-depth interviews will be conducted with survivors of multiple sexual assaults in New York and Seattle, in order to identify factors surrounding (re) victimization in an urban community sample. Based on these interviews and on prevention programs developed by others, we will develop a brief intervention to reduce the risk of further victimizations. The intervention will use a harm reduction/psycho-educational approach, intended not to heal the psychological wounds, which may require a long course of therapy, but to keep the survivor safe while recovering from the assaults. In the second phase, the intervention will be field-tested on another sample of survivors of multiple sexual assaults currently receiving counseling services. Follow up measures will be collected on the field test sample and on a control group of survivors of multiple assaults who have not received the intervention. Follow up measures will assess the program's short-term impact on risky behaviors; cognitions about control and self-blame; and revictimization. The goal is to develop an approach that will assist rape counselors in helping vulnerable survivors reduce the risk of re-assault while in counseling and afterwards.