The 13th Annual Conference on Crimes Against Women (CCAW) is quickly approaching, and with it comes a variety of new workshops, case studies, and computer labs to prevent and respond to all crimes against women. Created in partnership between Genesis Women’s Shelter and the Dallas Police Department, the mission of the Conference is to provide a national forum to disseminate the highest level of training, information, and strategies to professionals who are responders and advocates to victims of crimes against women. This Conference is the largest of its kind, bringing over 2,200 attendees from all 50 states and multiple countries in 2017. This year, attendees will have the opportunity to choose from 165 engaging and timely workshops to gain tools that they can take with them and implement in their own communities.

In recent years, law enforcement, advocates, and prosecutors have shifted focus towards the epidemic of crimes in Indian country. Unfortunately, many tribal communities experience significantly higher crime rates, especially against women, but they are often neglected due to lack of funding or resources and the complex nature of jurisdiction in Indian country. At the 2018 CCAW, attendees will have the opportunity to attend a variety of tribal workshops, including “America’s Missing Daughters,” “Developing a Collaborative Response to Violence Against Women in Indian Country,” and a screening of the motion picture, Wind River.

Some of the most popular workshops are interactive, allowing attendees to participate and engage with each other through guided activities. This year, CCAW is offering an interactive “Domestic Violence Crime Scene” that focuses on investigation practices, as well as interactive “Courtroom Testimony” that centers on best practices for expert witnesses. The “In Her Shoes” workshop is a simulation for attendees to navigate the many challenges that domestic violence survivors face as they try to leave an abusive relationship.

Additionally, the Conference offers continuing education credit for law enforcement (TCOLE), attorneys (MCLE), judges (CJE), nurses (CNE), and advocacy and counseling professionals (NOVA, LMFT, LPC, LMSW) who attend specific accredited workshops. The medical track at CCAW is larger than ever this year, including workshops such as “Basic Tactical Medicine,” “Could You Recognize a Staged Death Scene?” and “Forensic Evaluation of Fatal and Non-Fatal Strangulation.”

The Conference is thrilled to partner with Jana’s Campaign, a national education and violence prevention organization with the single mission of reducing gender and relationship violence, for the first annual Campus Safety Summit. Because of the pervasiveness of sexual assault and dating violence on campuses, it is imperative to host a special selection of workshops that address those issues thoroughly and specifically.

Technology is an essential tool when it comes to investigating crime in the digital age. The Conference offers a variety of computer labs that provide law enforcement and prosecutors with hands-on tools that they can use in their investigations and prosecution. With the continually-evolving nature of technology and its presence in our culture, CCAW has a strong focus on social media use. Attendees can look forward to “Snapchat Safety & Law Enforcement Operations,” “Facebook Advanced Searching & URL Manipulation,” “Twitter Investigations,” and many more.

Although several agencies and government organizations exist independently to combat crimes against women, a multidisciplinary approach is essential. At this year’s Conference, significant emphasis will be placed on Coordinated Community Responses (CCRs) that will harmonize the efforts of various professionals throughout one community who are working toward the same goal. These workshops include “Building a Coordinated Community Response,” “Creating Culture Change Through CCRs & the Press,” and “Strategic Collaboration.”

We are encouraged by the shifting tides surrounding violence against women; our society is beginning to pay attention and speak up like never before. Crimes against women are being investigated and prosecuted with persistence and determination. Voices once silenced are now holding accountable those who perpetrate this violence. It is our honor to host the nation’s largest and most comprehensive forum on best practices, concrete strategies, and cutting-edge tools in the fight to end crimes against women.

Megan Baak works at Genesis Women’s Shelter supporting the Conference on Crimes Against Women. She can be reached at