Exploring the Impact of Natural and Human-caused Disasters: How to Support DV Programs and Survivors in Their Aftermath
Gender violence is a critical issue facing communities affected by disasters, whether natural or human-caused. Disasters create additional challenges for survivors already traumatized by intimate partner violence. Previous traumas may be triggered as a result of the shock, fear, anxiety, and collapse of support systems disasters can create. This workshop will include information about the disproportionate vulnerability of women and children to domestic and sexual violence in disaster and emergency situations and tools will be shared on how to help increase the safety of survivors during and after a major disaster or crisis. Information will also be shared about the importance of critical incident stress management in the aftermath of a disaster and how to support domestic violence programs facing a crisis such as a disaster or domestic violence homicide.
Julie Ann Rivers-Cochran, MSW
Julie Ann Rivers-Cochran, MSW is the founder and principle consultant for Blackbird Consulting for Nonprofits, LLC. A national leader in the field of the prevention and intervention of intimate partner violence. Julie Ann has a history of the successful development and implementation of statewide policy and direct service programming. Currently, she serves as the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma and Mental Health’s Project Manager for a new Office for Victims of Crime grant program to increase access to services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault who have a psychiatric disability.
From 2004 – 2016, Julie Ann worked for the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence where she served as Vice President of Programs and Planning and worked closely with Florida’s 42 certified domestic violence centers. In her role, Julie Ann supported center Advocates, Chief Executive Officers, Board of Directors, and Coordinated Community Response Teams with training, technical assistance, and capacity building on issues such as governance, mission-driven program and policy development, and grant acquisition and management.
Julie Ann began her career in the movement to end intimate partner abuse by providing direct services and advocacy for survivors of domestic violence at Alternatives for Battered Women (now the Willow Center) of Rochester, NY, and as the Shelter Director for Refuge House in Tallahassee, FL. Julie Ann holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Florida State University, a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications/Journalism from St. John Fisher College, and an Executive Certificate in Transformational Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. She is also a certified Field Traumatologist and Compassion Fatigue Educator.
Since Florida’s 2004 hurricane season (during which four major hurricanes made landfall), Julie Ann has provided onsite disaster response and critical incident intervention for domestic violence centers. She assisted programs in Mississippi and Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, and New York and New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy. She collaborated with the National Domestic Violence Hotline to develop a disaster response curriculum for first responders and domestic violence program advocates.
Throughout her career, Julie Ann has worked with countless survivors of abuse who are also living with a psychiatric disability. For Julie Ann, the intersections of intimate partner violence, trauma, and mental health is deeply personal: Julie Ann’s mother lived with the diagnosis of schizophrenia and survived abuse. As her mother’s advocate, Julie Ann witnessed firsthand the stigma and discrimination that survivors face. Julie Ann’s mission is to work to eliminate those stigmas and myths while helping to create a violence-free future for all.