Programming and resources for highly at-risk children and youth and the professionals who work with them

First Responders: Responding to Sexual Assault Disclosures

by Jamie Suvak, L.M.H.C.
Duration: 1-2 hours; CE Credits: 2

Launch Course


This course presents an innovative model for responding to a disclosure of sexual violence. It stresses the importance of a supportive response to reduce secondary trauma and to encourage the survivor to seek further care. This approach trains staff to respond to disclosures emphasizing four key areas: Safety, Empowerment, Empathy, and Knowledge (SEEK). Designed specifically for staff in college and university settings, it is an essential tool for creating a safe point of entry for anyone choosing to disclose the sexual violence they experienced. This course was developed by staff of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, the largest rape crisis center in Massachusetts and the second oldest in the country.


Continuing Education Credits

To purchase CE credits, click here and scroll to find the course.

Continuing Education Credits are available for Social Workers and Psychologists. After completing each course, a brief post-test will be provided at the Orlando Behavioral Health website, which you must pass with more than 80% correct answers to be eligible for CE credits. Please contact Mike Weinberg at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  for more information about earning CE credits.


Workshop Objectives

In this course, you will learn to:

  • Describe the context of sexual assault, including how to define sexual assault and what to do if someone discloses to you.
  • Identify the three stages of a survivor's healing process: immediate crisis, outward adjustment, and retriggering/resolution.
  • Describe the survivor's feelings and experiences at certain points in healing.
  • Explain the appropriate response to survivors by providing them safety, empowerment, empathy, and knowledge about where to seek appropriate interventions and connections.


About the Author(s)
suvak-jaime.1Jamie Suvak, L.M.H.C., is the Clinical Training Manager at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center in Boston, Massachusetts. She has extensive experience in both counseling and emergency services for sexual assault and brings this experience to her trainings. She has been working with the issues of sexual assault since 1995, beginning as a volunteer at the Centre County Women's Resource Center in State College, PA. Jaime has been working at BARCC since 2001, first as the Hotline Coordinator, and then as the Director of Emergency Services. In her current role at BARCC, she has developed new curricula as well as presented trainings for a wide variety of professional groups.


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