“The Heart is a Muscle– Trauma-informed Approaches to Sexual & Intimate Partner Violence” is a dynamic conference taking place May 4-5, 2016 in Charlottesville to bring together advocates, clinicians, policymakers, law enforcement, educators, healthcare workers, and concerned citizens from across the state. The Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance, the organizer of this conference, is a statewide advocacy organization with which we at the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center are pleased to work on a variety of occasions. We are proud to be among the sponsors of their conference this year.

The Action Alliance drew inspiration from the resilient nature of the heart in planning “The Heart is a Muscle” as a conference that will closely examine trauma-informed approaches to sexual and intimate partner violence. The conference will be comprised of several keynotes and numerous break-out workshops from which attendees can choose with workshop tracks throughout the conference designed specifically for advocates, clinicians and community members, along with general workshops focused on wellness. Continuing education units will be available for licensed social workers and counselors attending this conference. Those CUEs will be available through the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) to attendees who sign up for those with their conference registration.

In their ongoing work, the Action Alliance confronts the issues of sexual and intimate partner violence in more ways than one, striving to create a Virginia free of sexual and domestic violence. As an advocacy organization, they provide the expertise needed to effectively confront these issues, with a deep understanding of the connection between sexual violence and other oppressions such as, racism, sexism, and homophobia. They bring important expertise to the creation and dissemination of resources for survivors, friends, and organizations, along with offering trainings specifically for professionals working in the fields of sexual and domestic violence. Their reach expands across the state, offering different levels of membership for anyone interested in becoming part of the alliance.

We appreciate the Action Alliance’s work on all of these fronts. We look forward to this conference as an opportunity to come together with professionals and citizens from across Virginia to focus on prevention of and response to sexual and domestic violence in our communities.