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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Making it Count: 10 Tips on Picking Your Best 12

A prosecutor has three chances to speak directly to the jury and Jury Selection is the first. Make it count by planning focused questions, using your time wisely, and weaving themes of your case throughout the process.  Learn how to use voir dire questions to cultivate potential jurors understanding of the difficult nature of providing testimony in a child sexual abuse

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Adverse Childhood Experiences & Trauma-Informed Care Training

Early life experiences are the foundational building blocks for development, learning, and health throughout a person’s lifetime. Trauma can have a long-term effect on well-being and functioning for children, adults, families, and our community. The Zero Abuse Project offers well-established training on adverse childhood experiences (ACE) and trauma-informed care (TIC).

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Introduction to ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences)

Experiences in childhood matter.  Numerous research studies have shown how childhood stress and trauma can impact adult health.  The Ace Study is the largest study investigating the health and social effects of negative childhood experiences.  Now that we have the research, what can we do about it? 

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A Trauma-Informed Courtroom

In this workshop, attendees will receive an overview of the research on trauma and how it impacts children as well as the research on the impact of testifying in court as a child. Applying this research, students will learn trauma-informed strategies for reducing the anxiety of children and taking their testimony in a manner that is developmentally appropriate.

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Race, Religion, & Violence

In this workshop, students receive an overview of the use of religion in justifying slavery, segregation and other oppressive practices. Students will also see the seeds of these teachings in modern day conspiracy theories. Armed with this knowledge, students will receive practical suggestions for addressing this aspect of historical trauma.

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The Forensic Interviewer in Court

Testifying in court is a process that can cause anxiety, even for the most seasoned professional. Understanding how to discuss the forensic interview protocol, our multidisciplinary team processes and the research that supports them is a critical skill. This training will discuss commonly broached topics in the court process, how to practically prepare for court, how to defend practice in

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A Body of Evidence: Measures to Improve Collection & Reduce Contamination

Evidence collection is the foundation to acquiring optimal forensic laboratory results and ensuring that a case overall has the best chances for proper adjudication. Without a proper knowledge of best practices in evidence collection, items of extreme importance in child maltreatment cases can be damaged or contaminated in such a way that critical information will be rendered lost or unusable

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From Submission to Court: The Basics of a Forensic Biology Laboratory

Many times, forensic laboratories lack a strong connection with investigators and prosecutors, leading to a limited understanding of how evidence is processed and transformed into a laboratory report. In this session, we will focus on the structure and workflow of a forensic biology laboratory, tracing the journey of evidence from its submission to the final information presented in court. By

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ChildFirst® Expanded Forensic Interview Process (ChildFirst® EX)

Based on the nationally-recognized ChildFirst® Forensic Interview Protocol, this training provides a purposeful and legally defensible process for conducting expanded forensic interviews with children who may not succeed in a standard, single interview due to trauma, developmental, special needs or other complicating issues, including polyvictimization. This training will teach the expanded interview process as well as research supporting multiple, non-duplicative

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Cultural Humility

Considering culture and individualizing the forensic interview to meet the needs of the child in front of the MDT are best practices and deeply impact the process of disclosure and case outcomes. This training will provide language and terminology surrounding cultural dynamics the team may encounter, recommendations for culturally appropriate considerations during the forensic interview and an overview of how

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Introduction to Trauma-informed Care

As multidisciplinary teams and forensic interviewers we have an obligation to be trauma informed in our practice and reduce systems inflicted harm as much as possible; it is the foundation of our multidisciplinary team response. This training will discuss the nature of trauma, how it impacts victims and professionals and how teams and interviewers can incorporate trauma informed practice into

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Admissibility of Social Media and Digital Evidence

This workshop will explore common challenges to social media and digital evidence, with an emphasis on comprehending and countering authentication and hearsay challenges. Instruction will focus on relevant case law and rules of evidence, including various jurisdictional approaches and prosecutorial strategies.

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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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Recognizing and Responding to the Spiritual Impact of Child Abuse

This workshop will provide an overview of the impact of child abuse on the spirituality of victims. In addition to an overview of research on this subject, students will receive concrete suggestions for assisting children in overcoming spiritual blocks that may impair the ability of a child to discuss maltreatment. The workshop includes a discussion on coordinating medical and mental

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Interviewing Reluctant Children

Children face many barriers when disclosing child abuse and maltreatment. Research tells us that even in cases where there is external corroborating evidence children only disclose 42-50% of the time in the formal interview. This training provides guidance on how to address reluctance in the forensic interview process, specifically with regard to the multidisciplinary team response, how to prepare children

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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.