Orlando, Fla. (April 29, 2019) – The Center for Disease Control estimates that one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused, 34 percent of which are victims of intrafamilial sexual abuse. However, an Orlando company is working on a solution to increase the reporting of sexual abuse by people who witness the acts.
Covian Consulting has been selected by The Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade County to develop a new role-playing game to encourage bystanders to report the crimes to authorities. This is a collaborative effort with partners from the community, which include Start off Smart (SOS), MUJER, and enFamilia as well experts in the field of game development, Dr. Maria Elena Villar from Florida International University and Dr. Jessica Wendorf Muhamad from Florida State University.
“Our background consulting with non-profits and other companies has shown us youth, in particular, learn from role-playing and experiencing simulated experiences in any particular situation,” says Dr. Maritza Concha, president, Covian Consulting. “We believe the development of this key tool to increase sexual assault reporting will be something other communities will want to use as well.”
Once developed, the game will be deployed throughout the Homestead and Miami communities, where community violence stemming from risk factors, such as high poverty and family disorganization, contribute to a normalization of youth sexual violence.
“Ensuring that children grow up in an environment where they feel safe is one of the best guarantees for success in school and later in life,” declared James Haj, president and CEO of The Children’s Trust. “We want to invest in innovative ways to protect children and improving their lives and are looking forward to the results of this project.”
The game has four central goals, which are
- raise awareness and facilitate dialogue on reporting sexual violence risk from a bystander perspective;
- encourage role-taking where adults are able to take on the role of youth who may have witnessed sexual violence;
- empower youth to develop potential scenarios where they may have witnessed different types of risks for sexual violence
- establish a public-private partnership with representatives of community-based organizations, youth, and law enforcement in Homestead to collaboratively develop game scenarios.
“The participatory nature of this game is what allows the members of our public-private partnership to bring their voices to sexually violent situations that youth bystanders may encounter,” Concha says. “Simultaneously, it would allow people to play the game to use role taking and experience the game from different perspectives, increasing their awareness about reporting youth sexual violence.”
The one-year contract with Covian Consulting for $88,000 will allow the firm to add two additional employees.
The first version of the app-based game will be delivered in November, with pilot testing scheduled to take place in the Homestead community in early 2020.
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For more information media should contact –
Covian Consulting: Maritza Concha, president, 321-234-1003, firstname.lastname@example.org
Covian Consulting: The mission of Covian Consulting, Inc. is to provide capacity building consultancy to organizations non-profit organizations and governmental agencies in the US.
Covian Consulting was created in 2003 by Dr. Maritza Concha and Dr. Maria Elena Villar. Together, they provide more than 30 years of combined experience in development and execution of community-based participatory research and action research, including program evaluations. For more information, please visit CovianConsulting.com.
About the UCF Business Incubation Program: The University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program is a community resource that provides early-stage companies with the tools, training and infrastructure to become financially stable, high growth/impact enterprises. Since 1999, this award-winning program has helped over 390 local startup companies reach their potential faster by providing vital business development resources.
With seven facilities throughout the region, the UCF Business Incubation Program is an economic development partnership between the University of Central Florida, the Corridor, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties, and the cities of Apopka, Kissimmee, Orlando and Winter Springs. For the 2016/17 and 2017 /18 fiscal years, the activities of these participating firms have helped sustain more than 6,275 local jobs and have had a cumulative impact of more than $888 million on regional GDP and more than $1.59 billion on regional sales. During the same period, the program has returned $12.03 for every $1 invested in the program. For more information, visit Incubator.UCF.edu.
The Children’s Trust: The Children’s Trust is a dedicated source of revenue established by voter referendum to improve the lives of all children and families in Miami-Dade County.