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Check Out Sandi Capuano Morrison’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sandi Capuano Morrison.

Hi Sandi, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I am a Colorado native who moved to San Diego in 2005, relocating from Boston, MA. I tease that between CO and MA, I did my time in freezing climates and tons of snow! I lived in San Diego for a year right after I graduated from college and was thrilled to move back almost 10 years later and see how the city had changed during that time. My husband, daughter, and our German Shepard/Corgi mix Luna know how fortunate we are to live here and enjoy time at the beach, checking out new restaurants, seeing live music, and taking advantage of so many different activities all year round.

I am an advocate and trainer and have done prevention and intervention work in the field of interpersonal violence for nearly 30 years. It is my privilege to work at the Institute on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma (IVAT), where our work focuses on child maltreatment, domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, elder abuse, and the trauma that results from these experiences. I love exploring new places and have been fortunate to travel through my work with IVAT which has provided me so many opportunities to engage with others from many different places all over the world, and learn and share about how cultural teachings and traditions can support hope, healing and resilience! My entire career has been in nonprofit organizations where I enjoy educating people from various disciplines about trauma-informed work and responses and helping to raise awareness about the short and long-term impact of traumatic experiences.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
While it can be difficult to live in a different state than most of my immediate family, I am grateful for the community we’ve built here in San Diego. Much of my inspiration for the work that I do is grounded in the sad reality that I have too many loved ones who have experienced interpersonal violence.

Seeing firsthand how it derailed some of their hopes, dreams, and plans make me motivated to work even harder to reduce these forms of violence and abuse in our homes, communities, systems of care, and society at large. I hope to use the lessons learned from supporting loved ones through traumatic times as a tool to help open hearts and minds, support people’s willingness to listen and learn about people from many different backgrounds and experiences, and do my small part to help bridge some of the divisions causing so much pain in the world today.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma (IVAT), a nonprofit organization whose home office is in San Diego. IVAT is a comprehensive resource, training, and professional services center focused on all aspects of violence, abuse, and trauma. I’ve been privileged to work with IVAT since 2008.

I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado-Boulder Psychology with a focus on Women’s Studies in 1996. I was a victim advocate at Boulder County Safehouse and then a Children’s Counselor at Alternatives to Violence domestic violence shelter in Colorado before moving to Boston in 1998 and graduating from Boston College with my Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology in 2000. It was at BC that I became certified as a Batterer Intervention Program Facilitator and assisted with research on the process and efficacy of offender programs. I was the Program Director of the IMPACT Batterer Intervention Program and ran offender groups for 5 years in the Boston suburbs.

After moving to San Diego I managed the county-wide domestic violence and sexual assault 24-hour hotline and volunteer program and then the city of San Diego’s Rape Crisis Center at the Center for Community Solutions. In that position, I was a member of both the San Diego Sexual Assault Response Team and the Sex Offender Management Council and became certified by California’s Office of Emergency Services as a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault counselor. I was also a Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) volunteer.

I am honored to serve on the Executive Committee of the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan (NPEIV) and am committed to empowerment-based, survivor-informed, and trauma-informed programs and processes as well as offender accountability. I have interests in Restorative Justice, Holistic Healing, Cultural Humility and Safety, Human Rights, and Social Justice.

IVAT has satellite offices in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Glenn Dale, Maryland. We host two international annual conferences, one here in San Diego each Fall, and offer consultation, program evaluation, consultation, direct services, continuing education, and direct services to victims and offenders of interpersonal violence. It is a great gift to work with IVAT and NPEIV to help raise the voices of individuals, families, and communities who often suffer in silence.

What are your plans for the future?
I hope to enjoy all that San Diego has to offer with my family for many years to come! I hope to continue to grow IVAT to help many more disciplines improve their understanding of and responses to violence, abuse, and trauma.

Through the research conducted at IVAT and the knowledge we share through our professional journals, bookstore, and continuing education, I hope that we continue to engage new partners to help us achieve our mission of promoting violence-free living by improving the quality of life for individuals on local, national, and international levels by sharing and disseminating vital information, improving cross-discipline collaborations, conducting research and training, and providing direct clinical and forensic services.

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IVAT’s Summits in San Diego and Pawsitive Teams

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