BERWYN, Pa., Aug. 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- ATIXA has, at times, issued position statements when it sees an unhealthy direction in the field in the hope that its position can offer some level of correction. ATIXA issues this position statement to reiterate the value of being trauma-informed in college and preK-12 sexual misconduct interview techniques, but encourages ATIXA members and the education field to avoid the use of information on the neurobiology of trauma to substitute for evidence. Everyone in the field is on the trauma learning curve and needs to be cautious about making premature conclusions. Practitioners must wait for this body of knowledge to mature and ripen. Perhaps the effective tools of truly understanding what causes trauma and what its effects are have not been invented yet. Regardless, for now, the aim should be to implement reputable trauma-informed investigation and interviewing practices and techniques.
There is nothing inherently wrong or biased about being trauma-informed. Putting an interviewee at ease is the best way to learn what they know. Best practices for trauma-informed interview practices can be found in ATIXA's Investigation in a Box Kit, with version 2.0 to be released this fall.
Today, trauma is a buzzword. Anyone can be "traumatized" by an experience – especially a negative one – but ATIXA is using "trauma" in this position statement as a term of art, referring to a set of autonomic, neurological responses to the brain's perception of an existential threat.
ATIXA knows that sexual trauma is a controversial topic, and that its position on trauma is controversial as well. The application of the "Neurobiology of Trauma" knowledge obtained by practitioners in the field has gotten way ahead of the actual science, the body of knowledge is being misapplied, and some purveyors of this knowledge are politically motivated to extrapolate well beyond any reasonable empirical conclusions currently supported by the science.
The field needs to incorporate trauma-informed investigation and interviewing methods into its best practices provided that they do not compromise the ability to obtain credible, relevant evidence; however, the "Neurobiology of Trauma" should not significantly influence the way that colleges and schools evaluate evidence.
This position statement has been ratified by the ATIXA Board of Advisors, August 16, 2019. The full statement can be retrieved here.
Founded in 2011, ATIXA is the nation's only membership association dedicated solely to Title IX compliance and supports our over 3,000 administrator members who hold Title IX responsibilities in schools and colleges. ATIXA is the leading provider of Title IX training and certification in the U.S., having certified more than 3,000 Title IX Coordinators and more than 8,000 Title IX investigators since 2011. ATIXA releases position statements on matters of import to our members and the field, as authorized by the ATIXA Board of Advisors. For more information, visit www.atixa.org.