National Crime Victim Law Institute
The Neurobiology of Trauma: Using Science to Explain Counterintuitive Victim Behaviors to Courts
Date: 12:00pm PDT September 18, 2014
All too often, behaviors of victims cause the public and those in the criminal justice system to doubt a victim’s story. In fact, it is not uncommon to hear someone decry a victim for “not acting like a victim.” This session will focus on the impact of trauma on the brain and how understanding this impact can help explain seemingly counterintuitive behavior of victims. Among the behaviors that appear counter-intuitive and which will be discussed in the session: perceived exaggerated fear responses of domestic violence victims; victims of domestic violence and sexual assault continuing to spend time with their perpetrator; non- or delayed disclosure of one’s victimization; and flat affect when discussing the details of one’s victimization. Specific case examples will be used throughout the session and participants will not only gain an understanding of the “why” of some behaviors but also leave ready to explain the same to the courts, including through expert testimony.
This webinar may be eligible for CLE Credit; check with your local bar association regarding requirements.
-About the Presenter-
Christopher Wilson, Psy.D.
Dr. Wilson is a licensed psychologist with a private practice in Portland, Oregon. For the last thirteen years he has worked in the field of domestic violence. For ten years he led groups for abusive men, and worked with female survivors of domestic violence both individually and in groups. He currently provides domestic violence evaluations in civil cases for both attorneys and the Department of Human Services. As part of his practice he has provided trainings for both community members and professionals on several topics in the field of domestic violence, including Dynamics of Abusive Men, Sustainable Advocacy, Neurobiology of Trauma, Using Group Process with Abusive Men, and Facilitation Skills for Working With Abusive Men. Dr. Wilson has provided training for both local and national organizations including Office for Victims of Crime, the Southern Poverty Law Center, End Violence Against Women International, National Crime Victim Law Institute, Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force, and Portland Women’s Crisis Line.
This webinar was supported by Grant No. 2012-TA-AX-K030 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this training are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.