This second episode of the Sexual Assault Awareness Month “mini-season” of the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s) Just Science podcast series is an interview with Marya Simmons, founder and CEO of Shift in Notion Consulting, who discusses victim advocacy during a pandemic.
Background information for the interview notes that reform in sexual assault response has undergone a shift toward victim-centered approaches during the last several years. At Shift in Notion Consulting, Marya Simmons is in the forefront of this movement. Her organization provides training and technical assistance for trauma-informed, victim-centered approaches to victim advocacy, sexual assault investigation, and prosecution. In the interview, she discusses the beginning of Shift in Notion Consulting, support for transgender survivors, and resources available to victims during the COVID-19 pandemic. She discusses the importance of comprehensive services for sexual assault victims that address the psychological impacts of the crime and the stresses of participation in the criminal justice processing of the case. She notes the importance of a resource person who can coordinate services and information related to the impact of the crime and criminal justice processing of the case. A multidisciplinary team is recommended as a means of coordinating mental health services for survivors in the context of being involved as a witness and participant in the investigation and prosecution of the case.