NCCASA 2023 Biennial Conference-Back to the Future-Call for Proposals

NCCASA 2023 Biennial Conference
Back to the Future

Tuesday, May 16th – Thursday, May 18th, 2023


Conference will be held virtually through Zoom. All logistics and information will be sent out to each presenter once their proposal has been approved.

**Call for Proposals**

“Do not dwell on the past! The past has been written with ink…the future in pencil! Worries about what cannot be changed is unnecessary, focus on what you can control and work to not make the mistakes again.”

NCCASA’s 2023 Conference, Back to the Future, will focus on potential applications of lessons learned, promising practices, and our pathways forward to ending sexual violence in NC. As we look toward a world where COVID will always have an impact, we are still reminded that there is a need to offer spaces for recovery and to collectively share ideas for equilibrium and rebuilding.

We are looking for workshops that explore the following questions: How do we build trust and relationships with collaborative partners and community members, with marginalized communities, in our service delivery and intervention, and in our primary prevention? How do we acknowledge and support survivorship in the work with trauma- informed and person- centered care? Also, how do we enhance agency capacity, outreach, community organizing, program management & development to prevent and address trauma while promoting health, wellness, and access to resources and safety? We especially welcome culturally-specific workshops that promote sexual violence specific resources and services outside of the civil/legal system.

Workshops are 90 minutes in duration, and priority will be given to sessions that are interactive, engaging, and provide participants with something tangible. We envision workshops that go beyond lecture style presentations. We are accustomed to and encourage a delivery style such as Train the Trainer, case studies, or small group work. Our goal is to offer participants a conference experience with minimal lecture that promotes participation amongst attendees.

The Conference Committee composed of NCCASA members and allied professionals will select workshops based on the content of the proposal and the relevancy to the 2023 conference. Proposals should include and make clear how lessons learned and promising practices can be analyzed and implemented to continue forward momentum.

Guidelines for Submitting Proposals:


  • Please complete the training proposal form on the following page. Incomplete proposals will not be reviewed by the Proposal Committee.
  • Training proposals are due by 5:00pm on Monday, March 13th, 2023. Proposals received after this deadline will not be reviewed by the Proposal Committee.
  • Please submit your training proposal via email with the subject line, “TRAINING PROPOSAL,” to Deanna Harrington, Director of Statewide Capacity, at
  • Training proposal submission does not guarantee workshop acceptance.


  • Notification of selection will happen on Monday April 1st, 2023


Click here to fill out the Proposal Form.

It’s possible we are all a little cagey to get too excited about 2023. Maybe our hope has been a bit dulled by the last couple of years. It may just feel safer to lower the bar when it comes to expectation. However, it’s worth reflecting together that we have weathered some storms and we are all still here! As survivors, advocates, friends and colleagues we have discovered courage and resolve we didn’t know we had. When we shine that light of resilience, we encourage each other to keep on. 

What does “light in the darkness” mean to you? Maybe you think about your faith or someone who was a guide or support during a rough time, or when you were able to strengthen another person. Maybe it was a date on the calendar, a powerful memory, or something to look forward to. An old friend we unexpectedly run into at just the right time. That text with an apology or a well-deserved “thank you.” That sacred place where you feel closest to something larger than yourself. 

For me, a light in the darkness means hope: hope we receive and hope we give.

It means clarity and presence, whether the light is a part of the collective light of others, or if it shines alone: one small point of light, defying the darkness, refusing to be overcome by it. Maybe it shines though it flickers and is dim, or maybe it glows with steady intensity and heat. Either way, lights in the darkness remind us that we are not alone, and that there IS a way forward. 

In January we focus on human trafficking awareness and we have seen significant changes in the North Carolina Anti-Human Trafficking (AHT) landscape in funding, organizational capacity and partnerships. And while there are many bright spots to celebrate, we have more work to do in centering survivors' well-being and implementing public health framework in our programs and strategic planning. We want our work to be impactful in the way it gives hope to others. 

We can also be a light in the way we do our work. What would happen if we prioritized: 

  • impact over output?
  • courtesy over competition?
  • relationships over influence?
  • abundance over scarcity?
  • presence over busyness?
  • empowering survivors over personal glory?

As we face 2023 with all the joys and challenges it will bring, let’s resolve together to cultivate that which gives light to others. In the very real darkness, let’s resolve to be hope givers. 

Courtney Dunkerton, Human Trafficking Program Coordinator

NCCASA is happy to introduce our newly revised Sexual Assault Advocacy Fundamentals Course. This course is broken up into two parts and will provide 20  hours of training for member Rape Crisis Center advocates.  If you are an advocate at a state recognized Rape Crisis Center, this training will provide you with the hours and skills needed to have advocate privilege.  This training is open to anyone with membership.  We have included resources, citations, a link to directly email NCCASA for technical assistance, self-care breaks and quiz’s.  This course is intended to replace Sexual Assault 101 and 102 webinar/in person  trainings and the previously launched online module “Sexual Assault 101 Learning Course”.  We are so excited to offer this new opportunity to members to further their training and capacity and hope that you enjoy your experience. If you have any questions or technical issues, please contact Deanna Harrington at Click here to register.

Happy Learning!!

If you were able to attend the Spring Member Meeting this year, you were part of a spiritual, hopeful, and inspiring talk given by Tai Simpson. Tai is a Social Change Associate with the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. Tai is a storyteller and was generous enough to share her talents and knowledge around storytelling in the anti-sexual violence movement with us. Our goal was to create a story of what does anti- sexual violence work look like in NC and where do we go from here. 

Here are some highlights from this time we spent in community:

As part of this time, Tai also gave three prompts for attendees to engage with. The prompts were: 

  1. How do you love yourself well?
  2. In a world without violence, I imagine ______
  3. Collective thriving is ______

The chat box overflowed with thoughtful and hopeful responses. Things like “I love myself well by connecting with my ancestors” , “by recognizing that rest is revolutionary”. In a world without violence I imagine “peace”, “all the fractured parts to be united”, “freedom”, “joy” and collective thriving is “choosing to love”, “connection”, “heaven on Earth”. 

We invite those who were unable to attend to share your responses to these prompts either through the use of this  jamboard or by emailing us directly. Your responses can be in the form of words, art, graphics. You can send your emails to With your responses to these prompts, you’re helping NCCASA envision the future of the anti- sexual violence movement in NC and what we can do to support you in achieving your goals.

During the member meeting, we were also joined by a wonderful artist, Alexandria Clay, who provided us with a graphic rendering of our time together. You can view that image here


We know that many of you have been facilitating virtual support groups throughout the pandemic and though many of our programs have resumed in person, virtual support groups seem to be here to stay. NCCASA and RCC of Coastal Horizons have collaborated on an addendum to our support group manual to bring you information on facilitating virtually, what tools and skills you may need when holding group in a virtual space, what platforms are best, and what to do in case of an emergency. You can access the manual here:

Virtual Support Group Manual Addendum_compressed

Thank you all for your participation in our first Sexual Assault Census Week Survey! It was a huge task to take on during SAAM and you all did amazing. Your hard work and contribution is greatly appreciated. 


Congratulations are in order for Hannah’s Place, Inc. as they are our first place winner! Hannah’s Place will receive next year’s NCCASA Membership completely free!

The following agencies are our runners up, and will receive discounted membership for the year:

  1. Partnership of Ashe- A Safe Home For Everyone
  2. Rape Crisis Center of Robeson County
  3. Phoenix Counseling Center
  4. Steps to HOPE, Inc
  5. SAFE of Harnett County, Inc
  6. Hoke County Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Center
  7. Options
  8. Turning Point
  9. Families Living Violence Free
  10. Safe Space, Inc


Thank you to everyone for your engagement. In the following weeks we will be corresponding with participants and creating infographics to report back the data. Please be on the lookout for updates and emails on Census week. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Erica Blackwood SADI Specialist at

“Meet your client where they are.” A phrase we’ve all come to hear, but most have yet to master putting into practice. While there are many interpretations of this mantra, I think in our work it means asking our clients what their needs are, what kind of support they need, where they want to start, and moving forward from there. For example, if a survivor discloses to you, but says they’re not ready to share this with their family/ friends yet, following this up with their reporting options may not be what they’re looking for at that moment. It sounds like they’re just trying to figure out how to cope with and process the experience themselves. Your response should be to meet them in that moment. Try to avoid going down a checklist of options that you learned in training and being hyper focused on being professional. Remember, advocacy is not about you. It’s about supporting the person in front of you. Providing support is about empathy and human connection.

A few of us recently attended a training all about trade-offs. A part of this training that really resonated with me and had me looking back on my work with survivors was thinking of trade-offs as deciding what is worth it. I reflected on the survivors who turned down safe shelter in small, rural towns and wanted to stay in the same city (and sometimes the same home) as the person causing them harm. At the time, I didn’t understand this. I thought why would someone choose the potential for more harm over a safe place? With this new perspective, I sat back and thought about the trade-offs the survivor would be making by moving. They may be in safe shelter, but they’re leaving behind their social support. They may have to find a new job to support themselves and their children, which will be much harder without a car and a lack of public transportation. The survivors who made the choice not to leave town, may have decided that financial security, access to resources, and social support made it worth staying even at the risk of more harm.

What we think is “worth it” is important and most of us have already made these decisions based on our values and needs and it’s different for everyone. The lesson here being that what is worth it to you, may not be worth it to the survivor you’re serving and it is not an advocate’s job to change that or dissect that. The advocate has been tasked with listening to what the survivor holds as most valuable, respecting the trade-offs they’re willing to make, and working within that context to help them get what they need to move forward in their healing journey.


Blog post courtesy of Leah Tugwell Poole, Rural Sexual Assault Services Specialist

Registration is open for the 2021 NCCASA Biennial Conference, Exploring Emergent Strategies for Long-Term Transformation. Our conference will be held virtually, over Zoom from May 25 through May 27, followed by our Spring Member Meeting.
Tickets are available online through Eventbrite, or registrants have the availability to pay by mail.
Registrants can look forward to:
  • A swag box in the mail, full of goodies and surprises
  • A virtual happy hour
  • Three plenary speakers
  • 20 workshops to choose from; opportunity to receive up to 12 training hours
  • Workshop recordings
  • Self care rooms
  • A few other fun surprises!

Click HERE to register today! Anyone who registers before May 10th will receive their Swag box in the mail before the conference!


We look forward to being in community with you all!

April is not only Sexual Assault Awareness Month, it is also Reentry Month, which celebrates those who are returning home post-incarceration and reentering the community.  Therefore, it is a great time to highlight a NCCASA project that will be featured in a workshop during our upcoming 2021 Biennial Conference in May.

The “Supporting Survivor Reentrants” Project brings together NCCASA, Orange County Rape Crisis Center and the Orange County Local Reentry Council to create resource and strategies to serve survivors of sexual violence and human trafficking who are reentering the community. It centers the unique experience of “survivor-reentrants” and the barriers and challenges they face–battling COVID, achieving self-sufficiency, accessing needed services, while avoiding recidivism–with the additional trauma of sexual violence.  The project has highlighted the intersection of the reentry community, racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal legal system, the impact of COVID and sexual violence on marginalized communities.

In a facilitated discussion for the conference workshop, project team members will discuss what we have learned about these intersections, the needs and barriers for healing  unique to survivor reentrants, and the value of building collaborative partnerships between Local Reentry Councils and North Carolina rape crisis programs.

It is our hope that this workshop will inspire member programs in their service delivery to survivors pre and post release.

Blog post by Courtney Dunkerton, Anti-Human Trafficking Specialist