Hard work paid off for our Gender Violence and Social Change team with the very first Survivor Support Network Training – Student Edition.

The Survivor Support Network Training was designed for UVA faculty and staff by Claire Kaplan, Gender Violence and Social Change Program Director, and former Women’s Center intern, Julianne Koch Price (CLAS 2008, NUR 2015). Claire had long conducted training sessions on how to be an effective ally to victims of sexual assault or intimate partner violence prior to their collaboration, but Julianne’s experience with the LGBTQ Center and the Safe Space training that they provide inspired what has been known for years now as the Survivor Support Network Training. Together, Claire and Julianne created the training manual and launched the new program as co-trainers.

SSN logo

Participants receive a sticker with this emblem after completing our training to proudly indicate their commitment to creating a safe and supportive space for survivors on Grounds.

Participants in the Survivor Support Network Training learn about the nature of sexual assault and intimate partner violence and how they can best provide support for students and colleagues affected by violence. Additionally, they gain a better understanding of the University’s current policies and procedures related to sexual assault and intimate partner violence. The current number of faculty and staff on Grounds that have participated in our Survivor Support Network Training includes more than 230 people from over 50 departments, showing a strong commitment to creating a culture of support for survivors. We look forward to seeing our network continue to grow even more as students take advantage of the opportunity to participate in this new version of the training specifically for them.

The Student Edition training was led by Gender Violence and Social Change intern, Carrie Bohmer, and volunteer, Seth Hesser. Using the faculty and staff presentation, they created a presentation that they felt would be engaging and effective for a student audience. Carrie said of the training, “I think that we did a pretty good job of making this applicable to students, being that both of us are students. We had an advantage going in knowing that we were the target audience.”

“The main difference in the two presentations,” Seth noted, “is that we wanted to make this as much of a conversation as a possible. Overall, Carrie and I crafted the presentation as a conversation piece, while at the same time providing sufficient information and resources.”

As our program director for Gender Violence and Social Change, Claire Kaplan guides the work a small group of students in this area each year including engaging them in our ongoing efforts as well as finding ways to incorporate what they have to offer that is new. Seeing the Survivor Support Network Training come full circle has been gratifying for her. As the Survivor Support Network Training – Student Edition was launched, she commented, “Carrie and Seth have worked incredibly hard on this. Many thanks to these two students for their fantastic presentation, hard work and dedication.”

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