New Life Center, 415 N. Litchfield Road, Goodyear, one of the largest domestic violence shelters in the country, was awarded a contract through the state to coordinate and administer sexual-assault-investigation training for law enforcement, sex crimes investigators and prosecutors.
The training, which began in October, is the only statewide project of this scope and spans across the western, northern, central and southeastern regions of the state. It will soon be available to all counties in Arizona.
To launch the training, center officials enlisted the help of subject matter experts across different disciplines, including detectives, attorneys and therapists to ensure the program emphasized the importance of a trauma-informed approach when investigating sensitive cases.
“This program gives law enforcement the tools they need to apply best practices during their investigations,” said Angela Rose, New Life Center training director. “The focus of the curriculum is to keep everything victim-centered as investigators learn to address the hurdles in holding perpetrators accountable.”
Two trainings were successfully completed in Maricopa and Pinal counties and consisted of a two-day basic overview of sexual assault investigations. Participants were walked through a case example and were educated on bias and victim counterintuitive behavior. Both trainings were booked up almost immediately upon launch.
“The state contract allows us to bring important training to agencies that otherwise may not have the opportunity, namely those outside of Maricopa County,” said Myriah Mhoon, New Life Center CEO. “We are so thankful for the support of the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family and law enforcement jurisdictions across the state. The excitement and willingness to participate from professionals shows that supporting each other across disciplines is the key to success when dealing with sex crimes.”
The next training was scheduled for Jan. 22 on the topic of human trafficking. As the program continues to be developed, the curriculum will expand to include 11 different training topics and will be updated to build upon basic best practices in the investigation of adult sexual assault.
“Supporting the work of law enforcement and expanding trauma-informed, victim-centered approaches are critical priorities for our office,” said Maria Cristina Fuentes, GOYFF director. “We are grateful for the work and dedication of New Life Center and the team of experts they have assembled to accomplish this important work.”
To keep up to date with the organization, follow it on Facebook and Instagram. To learn more about New Life Center and what it is doing in the community, visit NewLifeCtr.org.
New Life Center serves more than 1,000 children and adults annually through an emergency shelter and outreach support program, where more than 70 percent of the shelter population is children. In 2017, New Life Center served more children and provided more bed nights than any other single facility providing emergency shelter to domestic violence survivors in Arizona.
Editor’s Note: Ms. Morales is Welove Public Relations and Marketing manager.