Gender-inclusive SA support groups

Social media week!

We are so grateful for funding from Raliance to develop resources that will assist providers in creating gender-integrated support groups for survivors.  Throughout the week of September 19 – 25, 2016, we will be highlighting aspects of this work in progress on social media.  Are you connected to us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram?

To help victim service providers, mental health professionals, and others who are committed to creating support groups that are open, welcoming, and healing for sexual assault survivors of all genders, FORGE, with the support of Raliance funding, will:

  • Create an extensive guide for support group facilitators. The guide will include but not be limited to: more accurate and up-to-date statistics about sexual assault survivors and perpetrators; information about the shared and unique needs of female, male, trans, and gender non-binary survivors; gender-neutral language and pronouns; techniques and approaches for reducing and addressing biased remarks and beliefs; tips for trauma-informed facilitating; techniques to address the barriers and concerns of stakeholders (funders, community members), staff, and clients; how to screen clients for gender-integrated groups; new legal requirements affecting traditionally sex-segregated services; and resources for further reading (aimed at both facilitators and survivors).  [The guide will be reviewed by at least five sexual assault support group facilitators to provide feedback prior to finalizing the Guide.]
  • Host a webinar specific to the support group facilitators’ guide. A training webinar will highlight the guide and share some of its contents. We anticipate that some facilitators and agency staff will benefit from this learning modality instead of or in addition to a written Guide. FORGE webinars are always dynamic, engaging, and well attended.  If you aren’t already on our low-volume mailing list, we encourage you to sign up at
  • Both the guide and webinar will be informed by a survey of support group facilitators. The survey will focus on support group facilitators’ concerns and challenges to running gender-inclusive groups, as well as best practices and suggestions from those who have had experience with gender-inclusive groups.
  • Interviews with support group facilitators will also shape the guide and webinar. We will conduct in-depth telephone interviews of at least 10 facilitators with extensive experience facilitating gender-inclusive sexual assault support groups, focusing in particular on asking for advice on the issues/barriers identified by facilitators who have only run single-sex groups. These interviews will also solicit examples of support group interactions around gender and sample policies and procedures to be included in the guide and webinar.
  • Even support group facilitators need support! – A forum for facilitators will create an ongoing mechanism to support sexual assault facilitators, focused on encouraging sharing and problem-solving. All webinar participants and anyone downloading the guide will be invited to participate.