Training Catalog

Welcome to the Zero Abuse Project Training Catalog!

You can use the filters on the to browse the full scope of training Zero Abuse Project is able to offer for your organization. Please note that the On Demand filter can be used to quickly identify our trainings that have been pre-recorded and are available to watch. Most other trainings are available for organizations to book on a fee-for-service basis.

Through our Trauma-informed Prosecutor Project, we are able to offer a select menu of trainings for Prosecutors and other MDT members at no cost. Please select the Trauma-informed Prosecutor Project filter to view these trainings.

If you are an individual seeking training, please visit our Events & Training Calendar to view and register for upcoming trainings hosted by Zero Abuse Project. Unfortunately, Zero Abuse Project cannot book an individual’s request for training.

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Child Exploitation Investigations 101

This workshop will equip multidisciplinary teams with practical investigative and prosecutorial strategies for technology-facilitated child abuse cases. Topics include systemic best practices for conducting abuse investigations, locating potential sources of corroborative evidence, understanding offender communication strategies, and utilizing hearsay exceptions.

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Cross-Examination of the Digital Forensics Defense Expert

This workshop will review tactical and substantive considerations while conducting cross-examinations of digital forensics defense experts in child exploitation cases. Instruction will include preparation strategies, review of the defense expert’s curriculum vitae, potential lines of questioning, evaluating digital forensics reports, and a live cross-examination demonstration.

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Digital Forensics 101

A basic understanding of digital forensics is critical to a prosecutor’s assessment of evidence, guidance of child exploitation investigations, and courtroom performance. This workshop will define key terms and processes in the field of digital forensics, explore key forensic artifacts, and discuss legal challenges surrounding mobile devices and other evidentiary sources.

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Internet Trends & Key Technologies

This workshop will explore several technological concepts with relevance to the investigation and prosecution of technology-facilitated child abuse, including the basic functions and structure of the internet, common applications and platforms, the dark web and anonymization trends, and the proliferation of online child sexual exploitation.

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When the Child Abuser Carries a Badge

In many cases of child sexual and physical abuse, perpetrators use religious or spiritual themes to justify their abuse of a child. Although no known religion in modern culture suggests that sexual abuse is condoned or taught as part of its tenets, some church leaders engage in conduct suggesting the child is equally, if not more to blame than the

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When The Smoke Clears: Cross Examining the Defense Expert’s Attack on a Forensic Interview

Many defense attorneys attempt to deflect juror attention away from a child’s allegations of abuse by attacking the manner in which the child was interviewed. The implicit or explicit claim is that the interviewer purposefully or unwittingly planted the allegation of abuse in the child’s mind. Fearful of the anticipated attack on the investigative interview, some prosecutors decline to file

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Responding to Child Abuse During a Pandemic: 25 Tips for MDTs

Many child protection professionals believe child abuse is likely to increase during the COVID-19 pandemic as most abusers are parents or siblings now have more complete access to the child victim. In turn, the victim may no longer have schoolteachers, faith leaders, or other mandated reporters accessible for help or who may be able detect a sign of abuse. Children

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Preparing Children for Court

Students will learn creative strategies for empowering children to effectively handle the stress of testifying in court. Students will also learn of creative pre-trial motions and other strategies to modify the courtroom and the procedures of testifying to reduce the stress level of child witnesses.

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Understanding the Impact of Trauma on Boys

In this workshop, attendees will receive an overview of the impact of trauma on children with a special focus on how sexual abuse, physical abuse, and other forms of trauma impact boys. Research suggests boys who have endured trauma are more reluctant to disclose abuse and, when they do, less likely to receive services. In light of these dynamics, the

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When a Child Stands Alone: The Search for Corroborating Evidence

There is corroborating evidence in every case of child abuse, including cases of sexual abuse. Using actual vignettes, the presenter helps attendees see corroborating evidence that is almost always present but often missed. Working as team, students will learn to tear apart a child’s statement and find the corroborating physical evidence in cases of child sexual abuse.

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When Faith Hurts: Effective MDT Responses to the Spiritual Impact of Child Abuse

Many maltreated children are spiritually impacted by abuse and require a coordination of medical, mental health, and spiritual care. This slightly shortened presentation suitable as a keynote examines this research and explores creative reforms for bringing faith and child protection communities together to protect children and address their needs. The workshop also explores how MDTs can recognize and respond to

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I Take It Back: When a Child Recants

The workshop offers concrete guidance for forensic interviewers or investigators called on to interview a child who is reluctant or fearful of making a disclosure. The workshop will include research and best practices when interviewing reluctant children. Participants will have an opportunity to discuss concrete solutions that can be used with reluctant children and watch interview video clips.

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Direct Examination of the Forensic Interviewer

This workshop equips prosecutors with strategies to prepare forensic interviewers for trial and maximize the utility and effectiveness of their testimony. Attendees will learn how to construct the direct examination of a forensic interviewer, with an emphasis on forensic interview admissibility considerations and how interviewer testimony sets up the cross-examination of defense experts. The presentation concludes with ten areas for

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You Have Chosen Wisely: Jury Selection in Child Abuse Cases

This workshop provides prosecutors with a comprehensive overview of jury selection purposes and strategies – including pre-voir dire investigative tips, developing an authentic approach to juries, addressing juror myths, building case themes in child abuse cases, gathering sample questions, and closing considerations.

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DNA: Making Sense of the Methods & Science Behind Your Samples

Recent research suggests that frontline professionals, such as prosecutors and judges, are not well versed in forensic science education, yet they regularly rely on these methods and subsequent results for case closure. As a result, cases may be mishandled and evidence misused or omitted that may be of forensic relevance due to the lack of education in this critical sector

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Forensic Science in Child Abuse Cases: A Contemplative Look at the Future

The purpose of this presentation is to inform audience members about major advances in terms of evidence collection and processing as it relates to instances of child homicide, child sexual abuse, and other forms of child abuse and neglect. Discussions pertaining to advances in the field will be addressed, alongside criticisms of the field and concerns for the future landscape

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Investigation, Prosecution, and Treatment of Juvenile Offenders

In this workshop, students will learn to address juvenile sex offenders at the investigation, prosecution and treatment stages. Analyzing current research and practices; this workshop offers suggestions and guidelines to address the needs of juvenile sex offenders, their victims and society. This workshop also addresses the differing viewpoints concerning the prosecution and treatment of child sex offenders and seeks to

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Ethical Considerations in Crimes Against Children Cases

In cases of child abuse and neglect, a number of ethical challenges may arise during the forensic interview, during the multi-disciplinary investigation, during trial and after a case is resolved in court. In some instances, ethical conundrums arise because MDT members have conflicting ethical codes and competing values. Utilizing a number of case scenarios, this workshop invites a conversation into

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Investigating and Prosecuting Cases of Child Torture

In this workshop, students will learn of common dynamics involved in cases of torture. Using several case examples, students will examine potential defenses and receive concrete trial strategies for overcoming these defenses. When religion is incorporated into these cases, several possible approaches at trial will be discussed.

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Protecting children from child abuse and maltreatment requires that everyone understand how to recognize, respond and report any form of maltreatment a child may experience. FIRST response is often the single most important step in effectively responding and reporting maltreatment.

FIRST will give you and your community the tools necessary to better protect kids. The training combines both lecture and practicum, giving participants the tools and practical skills to better communicate with a child during the initial outcry of maltreatment.

The FIRST process teaches three critical components:
1. How to recognize signs and symptoms of abuse and maltreatment
2. How to listen and respond to a child’s needs
3. How to effectively and accurately report any form of maltreatment to authorities

Your FIRST Response to Child Maltreatment training teaches participants how to listen to children who have experienced maltreatment and gather the correct information needed in a way that puts the child’s needs FIRST.

This training is also available as a Train-the-Trainer model with a licensing agreement to teach the material in your own community. Offerred as a 90 minute overview or a 3-hour comprehensive basic course.

You are remarkable, exceptional and amazing! You are a supporter, a believer, and a champion! Do you agree?
As advocates we spend our days, and sometimes evenings, caring for and empowering others. Sometimes we forget to do the same for ourselves. Advocacy work is chosen out of compassion, empathy, experience or a belief in a cause. This is not easy work. For every one cause for celebration, we may have five to ten struggles. If you feel as though you need a little encouragement, support, and ideas to keep you fabulous, please consider this training. This is especially important as we navigate daily changes and stresses induced by Covid-19 and the impact of isolation and grief.

This workshop provides prosecutors with a comprehensive overview of jury selection purposes and strategies – including pre-voir dire investigative tips, developing an authentic approach to juries, addressing juror myths, building case themes in child abuse cases, gathering sample questions, and closing considerations.

In the United States, hundreds of children have died and thousands more have endured pain or illness that could have been prevented with basic medical care. This workshop addresses instances in which medical care is withheld on the basis of religious belief. The workshop explores the basis for these beliefs and the possibility of working within myriad cultures to nonetheless treat the child. The workshop also explores when, over the objection of a parent, the government can intervene to provide necessary medical care to a child.

Although there is a large body of research finding medical and mental health risks associated with corporal punishment, most parents continue to hit their children as a means of discipline. In many instances, the practice is justified based on religious teachings. Using a case history, this presentation discusses the basis for these teaching and offers concrete, culturally sensitive approaches for moving parents away from corporal punishment and toward more effective means of discipline.

What every parent fears: an alert from their children’s school, notifying them of some event like an active shooter. Schools train, drill, and have alerts for active shooters, fires, and other disasters; however, when it comes to addressing in-school sexual assaults – particularly those committed by students – most schools find themselves with no plan. This leads to problems for investigators, prosecutors and school officials as they try to achieve justice for survivors and keep the school environment safe. This presentation will focus on building strong cases when a sexual assault occurs in a school environment, with a focus on evidence collection, obtaining digital evidence and navigating school policies. Attendees will be encouraged to think about specialized legal proceedings like waiver hearings (trying juveniles as adults). Finally, we will discuss unique trial issues, including witness intimidation, working with reluctant witnesses, and overcoming juror biases.

Most sexually abused boys will never make an outcry during childhood and, even if abuse is discovered, investigators and prosecutors will face barriers that impede their ability to protect these children. This workshop explores the research on the sexual abuse of boys and offers concrete suggestions for conducting forensic interviews with these children, investigating crimes against boys, and presenting these cases to a jury.

Students will receive an overview of the literature concerning the emotional abuse of a child and will receive concrete suggestions for investigating these cases and for proving an allegation of emotional abuse in either a civil child protection or a criminal case.

When most people hear the word “rape”, they still think of the stranger rapist with the gun, despite the progress of the “Me Too” Movement and some highly publicized non-stranger sexual abuse cases.  Prosecutors, police, and advocates are far more likely to encounter cases in which the survivor and the offender have some pre-existing relationship. This presentation will focus attendees on how to build strong non-stranger sexual assault cases that have jury appeal, that offer victim protections and support, and that counter defenses commonly raised in non-stranger cases.

The tragedy of youth sexually abusing other children is frequently encountered by prosecutors and forensic interviewers, yet it poses significant and persistent challenges. This workshop provides pertinent strategies and research for the effective, appropriate intervention and prosecution of juvenile offenders.

Many defense attorneys attempt to deflect juror attention away from a child’s allegations of abuse by attacking the manner in which the child was interviewed. The implicit or explicit claim is that the interviewer purposefully or unwittingly planted the allegation of abuse in the child’s mind. Fearful of the anticipated attack on the investigative interview, some prosecutors decline to file charges in cases involving only eyewitness testimony of a young child. In this workshop students will learn how to successfully defend the investigative interview.

How do you investigate child abuse cases when the suspect is a law enforcement officer? This workshop analyzes a series of case studies in which perpetrators sought to exploit the authority of the badge by abusing vulnerable youth and avoiding the consequences. Team-taught by a forensic interviewer and former prosecutor, the presentation will highlight practical investigative, prosecutorial, and forensic interview considerations for these complex cases.

It is a powerful responsibility to ensure that children, youth, and vulnerable adults are able to thrive within a faith community. The importance of creating and maintaining safe places for ALL members, especially those unable to protect themselves, must be considered with great care. This session provides specific policies and practices to address while detailing why faith communities must be prepared to handle the problem of child sexual abuse.

A significant body of research finds that many abused children are impacted spiritually or have religious questions pertaining to the maltreatment. Failing to address these questions may impact a child physically and emotionally.

Many maltreated children are spiritually impacted by abuse and require a coordination of medical, mental health, and spiritual care. This slightly shortened presentation suitable as a keynote examines this research and explores creative reforms for bringing faith and child protection communities together to protect children and address their needs. The workshop also explores how MDTs can recognize and respond to spiritual injuries before, during and after the forensic interview.

There is corroborating evidence in every case of child abuse, including cases of sexual abuse. Using actual vignettes, the presenter helps attendees see corroborating evidence that is almost always present but often missed. Working as team, students will learn to tear apart a child’s statement and find the corroborating physical evidence in cases of child sexual abuse.

In this workshop, students will learn the importance of effective strategies and themes for opening statements and closing arguments in child abuse cases. Students will learn a theme for presenting their case. They will learn specific arguments to persuade a jury that a child is telling the truth. They will learn to debunk common defenses in child abuse cases.

This training will give youth workers, faith leaders, teachers, and caregivers tools to support them in having conversations with young people about pornography.

The work we do matters. The way we treat our colleagues and clients matter. Using humor, story-telling, and anecdotes from the field, this session will remind listeners why self care is crucial and how we can learn and be inspired by others.

As the world becomes more digitally connected, offenders can now commit multiple, virtual sexual assaults without ever leaving their homes.  Sextortion – the use of coercion to compel a victim to engage in some form of sexual conduct – has been steadily increasing over the years, and now may involve international actors and financial components. This presentation will focus attendees on factors to consider when working with the victims traumatized by these offenses, including victim interviewing and evidence gathering, protecting victims during the court process, and addressing victim needs for physical safety and their mental health.

Self-care should be an individual priority, but it cannot be achieved without support from your professional and personal communities. True self-care requires support and resources from leadership. This workshop provides an overview of the research on the vicarious trauma of working with families impacted by trauma. There will be opportunities to self-assess how your professional community is helping in prevention of burnout and concrete opportunities for growth.

Corroborative evidence can often be the deciding factor on whether or not a case moves forward for charging.  Many cases of abuse and assault often appear to only have the victim and suspect as the “witnesses”.  This presentation will explore ways that police and prosecutors can look beyond those two witnesses and identify ways to present compelling, corroborating evidence.  Using traditional methods of physical evidence and advancing ideas in technology, attendees will be encouraged to think outside the box.

Domestic violence and stalking investigations can become a tedious task for any investigator. To conduct a successful investigation, digital evidence recovery is essential to aid in the corroboration of the victim’s statement. The offender may impose physical injury, but they will also routinely harass, threaten, and inflict psychological trauma upon their victims while committing crimes in person or during online interactions. Investigators must equip themselves with the latest tools and techniques available to obtain solid evidence for the prosecution’s case against these offenders. This course will provide examples of how to locate digital evidence through using search warrants to establish a pattern of behavior, which can corroborate the victim’s statement. An emphasis will also be placed on the best legal practices for digital evidence recovery, storage, and presentation for prosecution.

In this moving and hopeful address, students will learn the five obstacles that prevent us from ending child abuse and will learn about sweeping changes now taking place in our child protection system that will enable us to significantly reduce and perhaps eliminate child abuse over the course of the next three generations. The keynote is based on a scholarly work that was published in the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, and in the Hamline Journal of Public Law and Policy, Fall 2006.

An understanding of the forensic interviewing process is essential for supervisors in order to assist in the growth of their interviewers and to gain familiarity with the required peer review and mentoring processes. This advanced workshop includes a history and overview of the ChildFirst® Forensic Interviewing Protocol and discusses best practices in the field, new research, and the process for annual updates.  Concrete suggestions regarding strengths and challenges in the field will be provided, as well as an opportunity for questions in group forum format. (Available as a full day or a half day to include only the Supervising Forensic Interviewers content)

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Before requesting a training, please view our training catalog to see all available training topics.

Unfortunately, Zero Abuse Project cannot book individual requests for training. Please see our Events Calendar to view and register for upcoming trainings that will be hosted by Zero Abuse Project.