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Past Activity Spotlight - July–September 2019

New Mexico Leadership Institute

Requester/Organization Supported: New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs

Type & Dates: In-person, capacity-building and leadership training | February 4–7, 2019

Description: The New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs requested a training on leadership on February 4–7, 2019, in Gallup, New Mexico. The Leadership Institute provides skill-based training to assist participants in becoming more effective leaders of teams, workgroups, or organizations. The training focused on how to inspire and motivate staff, lead change, and foster innovation. It provided skills and knowledge for new and seasoned victim service leaders who provide or have provided direct services to victims to build capacity within victim-serving agencies.

Implementation: The consultants provided an adapted pilot version of the 11-week blended learning Leadership Institute curriculum to Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) members over the course of 4 days.

Results: The training provided an opportunity for participants to discuss how they can better assist one another. As a result of the training, the participants formed a SART and have since had four SART meetings. The newly formed SART includes law enforcement/sheriff's office, legal aid, sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE), child advocacy center, sexual assault services staff, and, most recently, the district attorney's office victim advocate. The meetings addressed SART-specific responses beyond the existing domestic violence and sexual assault task force, including a team of individuals assigned to work with victims of sexual assault specifically. They are also working on clarifying types of cases, jurisdictional issues, building trust and rapport with team members, and other issues that need to be addressed, while working with agencies to build relationships. Each agency contributes statistics at every meeting to help justify the need for funding in grant solicitations. They also assess each agency's operations to identify how they can improve the victim experience (e.g., reviewing forms to ensure inclusivity, particularly for LGBTQ and older adult victims).

Since the training, the current domestic violence and sexual assault task force developed a vision statement to provide more clarity about the direction of the task force. They are working on bringing essential teams to the table that have been missing (e.g., local police department, district attorney's office, and the local domestic violence response organization).

Training participants have a better understanding of the differences in their agencies (e.g., processes, motivators), including how they interact and operate, and that they ultimately share the same goal to support victims. The training helped to cultivate mutual respect across all participants, allowed them to be more connected to the people in the community, and created a safe environment to cover hard topics. The training taught them how to have tough conversations and move forward from them, dispelled fear, and encouraged approachability among the members. As a result, participants were able to have hard conversations with people who had not gotten along very well, and that would not have happened otherwise.