Promising Practices for Sexual Violence Crisis Line Response

For a survivor of sexual violence, telling their story can feel incredibly vulnerable and overwhelming. The reaction and support of that first responder makes a big difference in how comfortable a survivor will feel telling their story again. When it goes well, it can mitigate trauma and open the door to future support and resources over the course of a survivor’s healing.

Crisis lines are a lifeline for survivors, but many advocates balance their phone advocacy with in-person response and support. Because of this balancing act, crisis line response consistency may be a challenge. For many programs the main focus is on domestic violence, and calls focused on sexual violence are few and far between. However, the need for survivor-centered support on crisis lines that is also grounded in a deep understanding of the complexities of sexual violence is imperative for all survivors. This discussion-based workshop will support advocates to best respond to sexual violence calls by offering promising practices, as well as tangible tools for supporting SA survivors.

Presented by

Rebecca Peatow Nickels, MSW has been the Executive Director of the Portland Women’s Crisis Line since 2006 and working to end domestic and sexual violence since 1996. Rebecca has made it a goal to provide sound, ethical management for organizations and has worked in shelters, staffed various crisis and mental health hotlines, and provided community education on issues from self-defense to affirmative action. In addition to her interests in feminist leadership, she is also dedicated to making organizations anti-racist and grounded in social justice. Her first supervisor was an amazing mentor, which inspired her to form authentic relationships with all her co-workers.

BB Beltran has been involved in the movement to end domestic and sexual violence since 2004. She worked at the Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force in 2004-2009 where she helped coordinate the Task Force’s membership and Sexual Assault Training Institute (SATI) , as well as assisted with legislative research and advocacy. She has also served on the Lane County Commission for the Advancement of Human Rights and is a former board member of The Wesley Foundation Corporation. BB participates on the statewide Legislative and Public Policy Subcommittee of the Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force, Lane County Sexual Assault Response Team, Governor’s Disproportionate Minority Contact Summit planning committee and is an active member of the Zonta Club of Eugene-Springfield. In her spare time, BB participates on the Oregon End Violence Against Women Political Action Committee, of which she is also a founding member. BB is currently the Executive Director of Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS) in Eugene, Oregon. She has a B.A. from the University of Oregon. BB is fun and likes dogs.