Supporting Your Primary Witness During a Title IX Cross-Examination



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Implement simple techniques to help your witnesses feel grounded and safe during cross-examination.

The 2020 Title IX federal regulations require live hearings to include a cross-examination of both parties by the other party’s Advisor. This revised process brings certain challenges. First, cross-examination can feel overwhelming, and even traumatizing to survivors of sexual assault who must recount and relive their trauma in front of others. Second, the process can feel debilitating to both parties, as their credibility and character appear under attack. Third, cross-examination can produce anxiety in the Advisor, who may struggle to navigate such emotionally charged conversations. Mismanaging cross-examination and witness preparation or lacking the tools to assist participants through the revised process can compound an already stressful situation. 

 Join us for this webcast to learn how you, as an Advisor or Hearing Panelist, can have a more positive impact on the cross-examination by preparing both parties to endure the process. During this training, you’ll acquire a toolkit of simple yet profound grounding and communication strategies that you can use to engage your witnesses and make them feel as safe and comfortable as possible throughout the process.  

 No two witnesses are the same and as such, your approach to cross-examination cannot be one-size-fits-allOur expert will give you the toolkit you need to adapt and customize your response and meet the needs of your witnesses. 


Who Should Attend

This training will directly benefit institutional Advisors. Professionals in the following roles may also find this webcast valuable: 

  • Hearing panelists, including the Hearing Chair, who serve as facilitators during the live hearing and ensure that parties can equitably and fully participate during the entire live hearing 
  • Title IX Coordinators who oversee the live hearing and may need to provide witness support strategies to their designated Advisors and Hearing Panelists 



Section 1: Creating the Space for Success
In the first section of the training you’ll learn tips and strategies for establishing the advisor/witness relationship, so that you can create a safe space by setting up a good foundation. 

Section 2: Grounding Techniques
You’ll learn a variety of grounding techniques that you can use with the witness when cross-examination becomes too intense or personally difficult for them. These techniques will allow the witness to sustain their engagement and focus, to the extent possible, during the live hearing.  

Section 3: Communication Strategies
You’ll hear about critical communication strategies, including what to say and what not to say, how to communicate with compassion, and how to create an environment that allows the witness to advocate for themselves during the cross-examination. These strategies are designed to foster a confident and trusting relationship between you and your witness.

Section 4: When All Else Fails
Learn what to do if the above techniques are not able to keep your witness calm and composed.


Portrait of Eden Wales Freedman

Dr. Eden Wales Freedman

Vice Provost for Faculties and Academic Affairs, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota 

Previously, Eden was associate professor of English and founding director of diversity studies at Mount Mercy University, where she also served as Dr. Thomas R. Feld Chair for Teaching Excellence and Deputy Title IX Coordinator. She is AtIXa trained in Title IX and Civil Rights investigation and coordination. Eden has worked as an educator at violence prevention centers and as a victim’s advocate for sexual assault response teams. She regularly publishes and lectures on how we can respond to one another across differences and in times of crisis. Her book, Reading Testimony, Witnessing Trauma: Confronting Race, Gender, and Violence in American Literature (UP Mississippi 2020) was awarded the Eudora Welty Prize for contributing a new approach to understanding literature and culture, especially through the experiences of women of color. Because of her advocacy for women and children of color, Eden was a finalist for the 2016 United State of Women’s White House Summit Award and 2018 Big of the Year through Big Brothers Big Sisters. In 2017, she was named Woman of the Year by the Women’s Equality Coalition. 

Read Speaker's Full Bio

Questions About the Event? Email this event's Program Manager, Rabia Khan Harvey.

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