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WCASA is Wisconsin's only state-wide coalition dedicated to ending sexual violence.

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        Our Mission

        The Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault creates the social change necessary to end sexual violence. 

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        Prison rape elimination act

        See PREA events

        In 2003, Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), the nation’s first-ever law addressing sexual abuse in detention facilities. In 2012, the Department of Justice published national standards to address the issue of sexual abuse and harassment in confinement.

        The Bureau of Justice Statistics determined that over 7% of prisoners have been sexually abused during their most recent incarceration. Approximately half of those assaults occurred at the hands of staff and most survivors report their assaults occurred more than once during their incarceration.

        PREA standards have three clear goals: to prevent, detect and respond to sexual abuse in confinement settings. The standards address inmate on inmate as well as staff on inmate sexual abuse and harassment. The standards meet the goals by adopting a zero tolerance policy within institutions, identify hiring and training requirements for facilities, and developing procedures for responding to reported abuse. Inmates are provided education about the dynamics of sexual abuse in confinement and what their rights are if victimized. The standards identify multiple ways an inmate, community member or staff can report suspected abuse. Additionally, the standards address allowing outside advocacy and support for prison rape survivors.

        When addressing the problem of prison sexual assault, it is important to be aware of the prevalence of the racial disparity within our criminal justice system and to be able to identify those who are most likely to become a victim of sexual assault in prison (young offenders, those perceived to be weak/less likely to report or fight back, LGBTIQ, mentally ill and those with a prior history of trauma).

        Lifetime Likelihood of Imprisonment

        PREA standards not only help ensure the safety and security of inmates, staff and the institution, but also provide support for victims, most of whom are ultimately returned to society. Victims of sexual assault in confinement suffer the same trauma as individuals assaulted in the community, however, due to the unique dynamics of a prison/jail setting, historically have not have the same access to reporting, resources and support. The Prison Rape Elimination Act helps identify and address these deficits.


        WCASA Resources

        PREA Advocacy Manual: Tools for Advocates Working with Incarcerated Victims of Sexual Violence in Wisconsin (2017)

        The first half of this tool is intended to provide information on the background, prevalence, and dynamics of sexual abuse and sexual harassment (including abuse and harassment perpetrated by a staff member) in correctional institutions, as well as incarcerated victim responses. The second half of this tool is designed to provide best practice guidelines for advocates who are providing services to incarcerated victims of sexual violence within correctional institutions. While many of the tools, guidelines, and suggestions depict working with prison rape survivors, these same or similar methods are valuable when working with survivors of sexual assault in all forms of detention.


        Upcoming Webinars

        2018 PREA Webinar Series: An Intersectional Approach


        May 23: School to Prison Pipeline (10:00am-11:30am)

        Presented by Nubia Peña, Prevention and Advocacy Training Specialist, Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault

        Part 1 of the This webinar will discuss the school to prison pipeline, what it is and why our marginalized children are vulnerable to this form of institutionalized oppression.

        Click here to register


        May 30: Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline (10:00am-11:30am)

        Presented by Nubia Peña, Prevention and Advocacy Training Specialist, Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault

        This webinar will discuss the unique experience of survivors and how victims of sexual violence are misunderstood and pushed in to the pipeline. It will also cover PREA and how vulnerable youth are being victimized again while in the state’s custody.

        Click here to register


        June (TBA): Addressing Implicit Bias to Better Serve Incarcerated People

        Presented by Judgement Under the Radar and Vicki Biehn and Annabell Bustillos from Sexual Assault Services of Lutheran Social Services in Racine County

        More information coming soon!


        Archived Webinars

        Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) (2014)
        During this webinar Keeley Crowley, PREA Grant Coordinator with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections review some basic dynamics of sexual abuse in detention, working with an inmate victim, and resources available to support advocates.

        Prison Rape Elimination Act: Advocacy in Confinement (2016)
        The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 sets forth standards to prevent, detect and respond to sexual abuse and sexual harassment in confinement. As in the community, advocacy in confinement is central to the healing process. Join us to learn about the dynamics of sexual abuse, the role of advocacy and the ways in which we can work together to support survivors in confinement.

        Prison Rape Elimination Act: Advocacy in Confinement Part 2 (2018)

        Presented by Ian Henderson, Director of Legal & Systems Services. In November 2017, WCASA and the Department of Corrections (DOC) provided a series of regional training opportunities which featured both the recently revised PREA Advocacy Manual and a screening of the new inmate rights video which was developed by WCASA and DOC. Attendees of the trainings also received a copy of the new manual, which included a DVD of the inmate rights video (a copy of the PREA Advocacy Manual has since been mailed to all SASPs that were not able to attend the regional trainings).

        To ensure that this training will be available to all advocates, WCASA and DOC decided to turn the regional training into a webinar. For advocates who attended the November trainings, this webinar will be duplicative. However, advocates who were not able to attend (or for those who would like to review the content covered in the trainings) this webinar allows advocates to access the training at their convenience. Additionally, SASPs could use the webinar as an opportunity to view the webinar as a staff training opportunity. The regional trainings included an interactive activity at the end of the training – to preserve this activity in webinar format we are also providing brief instructions and materials to facilitate this activity with staff.

        Webinar participants will: 

        • Learn best practices for serving incarcerated survivors
        • View the inmate rights video
        • Discuss challenging scenarios advocates may encounter while providing services to incarcerated survivors

               Note: This webinar is not intended to serve as a PREA “101” training. For         advocates who wish to learn PREA basics, we recommend that you view           the first Advocacy in Confinement webinar available here prior to viewing           this webinar.

        State Resources

        Tools for Advocates Working with Incarcerated Victims of Sexual Violence in Wisconsin

        WI Department of Corrections-PREA Unit: To contact the WI DOC PREA office, learn more about PREA standards, view PREA audit results or report sexual abuse/harassment


        National Resources

        PREA Resource Center: Provides assistance to those responsible for state and local adult prisons and jails, juvenile facilities, community corrections, lockups, tribal organizations, and inmates and their families in their efforts to eliminate sexual abuse in confinement.

        Just Detention International: A health and human rights organization that seeks to end sexual abuse in all forms of detention

        Hope Behind Bars; An Advocates Guide to Helping Survivors of Sexual Abuse in Detention

        Bureau of Justice Statistics: Department of Justice: An agency that collects, analyzes, publishes, and disseminates information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government. These data are critical to federal, state, and local policymakers in combating crime and ensuring that justice is both efficient and evenhanded.

        The Sentencing Project: Organization working for a fair and effective criminal justice system. Site includes research publications, media campaigns, and strategic advocacy for policy reform.

        Upcoming Events

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        2018 Calendar

        Regional Technical Assistance


        Statewide & National Events


        Registration Open


        > June 22, 2018: Paths to Healing Conference, Madison

        Summer Prevention Webinar Series (all 10:00-11:30am)

        > July 16, 2018: Presentation by Rape Crisis Center's Youth Advisory Board Gamechangers

        > July 23, 2018: 
        Zooming In: Poetry as an Entry Point into Violence Prevention Work

        > July 30, 2018: How to Talk to Teens about Sexting

        > August 6, 2018: Ni Santas, Ni Putas: The impact of external and internalized misogyny on Latina survivors

        > August 14-17, 2018:
        Sexual Assault Victim Advocacy School (SAVAS), Madison


        Save the Date


        > September 5 & 6, 2018: Director's Meeting, Location TBD

        September 25 & 26, 2018:

        Northern TrainingRed Cliff

        > May 2-3, 2019: Nuestras Voces National Bilingual Sexual Assault Conference, Milwaukee



        WCASA Blog

        WCASA Blog Discontinued…

        We have discontinued our blog. For up to date information, please see the WCASA Voice newsletter.