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Interpersonal Violence Investigation and Prevention Program: Support and Education for Justice Seekers

Our criminal justice investigator investigates interpersonal violence crimes, and depending on mandates and/or survivors wishes, prepares a report for documentation only for submission to the District Attorney's Office. 

When choosing to meet with a criminal justice investigator, you always have the option to be accompanied by an advocate at no cost and with complete confidentiality. We recommend choosing to have an advocate by your side because Advocates can provide emotional support and keep you informed of your rights throughout the criminal justice seeking process, while criminal justice investigators must remain neutral in order to pursue your case. If you are interested in  pursuing criminal legal action against a perpetrator, explore your options for connecting with criminal justice support below. 

Objective: Empowering survivors pursuing criminal legal action against perpetrators


A smiling police officer striking a playful pose outdoors.

Meet Kovena: IVCSD's Criminal Justice Investigator

Fun facts about Kovena:

  • I have goats and chickens
  • I am a yoga teacher
  • I am a mom of teenagers
  • Although I am Mexican, I grew up in the Danish capital of America
  • I am a certified sound healer


Kovena's Services Include:

  • Individualized criminal legal guidance
  • Flexibility to change paths at any time
  • Advocates are available to support you through the process (We recommend always connecting with an advocate first). Explore available advocate services here
  • Access to Kovena, our Investigator 
  • Survivor Resource Guide


How to Connect with Kovena:

  • To connect with a criminal justice investigator, contact an advocate first. An advocate will assist you in making a plan of action that is best for you, and will put you in touch with a a criminal justice investigator if choosing to pursue criminal legal action feels right to you.


Learn More About Kovena's Role and the Criminal Justice Seeking Process

 In this video,  STESA interviews Kovena, our investigator, to learn more about her role in the community and how she plays a part in Isla Vusta's survivor resource network. Watch this video if you're curious about:

  • What is Koevna's role, and what does it entail?
  • What inspired Kovena to pursue this career?
  • What does the process look like if a survivor decides to meet with Kovena?
  • What is Kovena's favorite activity in Isla Vista?
  • What does Kovena do to practice self care?



What does a trauma-informed interview look like? 

A trauma-informed interview is conducted by an officer, detective, or investigator who has a deep understanding of trauma and its effects on the brain. They are knowledgeable about the widespread impact of trauma and can recognize the signs and symptoms in survivors. This understanding shapes how they approach interviewing, especially when survivors are recounting traumatic events.

Key elements of a trauma-informed interview include:

  1. Recognizing Trauma Signs: The interviewer is adept at identifying signs of trauma in survivors, understanding how these may manifest during recollection and responses to questions.
  2. Sensitive Language: The interviewer uses language that avoids any implication of survivor blame. The language should reflect the severity of the trauma's impact, be clear, descriptive, and sensitive to the survivor's experiences.
  3. Avoiding Re-Traumatization: The interviewer takes active steps to prevent re-traumatization, being mindful of how questions and interactions might affect the survivor.
  4. Honesty and Transparency: The interviewer answers questions honestly, ensuring the survivor fully understands their options. They provide timely updates on the case and are transparent about confidentiality protocols.
  5. Creating a Safe Space: The interview is conducted in a safe and comfortable environment. This space allows for breaks, snacks, and flexible timing, with an advocate present if desired by the survivor. The goal is to ensure the survivor feels they have control and options throughout the process.

By incorporating these practices, a trauma-informed interview prioritizes the survivor's well-being and promotes a supportive and understanding approach to gathering information.

Can I change my mind after starting the criminal justice seeking process? 

As long as law enforcement is not mandated by the crimes being investigated (Domestic Violence, Child abuse etc) and the report has not been sent to the District Attorney's Office yet, then a survivor can always change their mind. That process can be as simple as an email, we just need the request to stop moving forward with an investigation or to close the case in writing. 

In what cases does a survivor not have agency over their case? 

In cases where Law Enforcement is mandated to investigate and make an arrest such as Domestic and dating violence, child abuse, child sex crimes,elder abuse and violation of a restraining order. 

How long can this process take? 

Every investigation is different. Kovena has investigated cases that take less than a month to investigate and she has had cases that take over a year to investigate and submit to the District Attorney's Office.

Can I meet with Kovena only to talk about reporting options? 

Yes! Through CARE or STESA  a survivor can request an info session with Kovena.

​Is a Clery Warning going to be released on my case? ​ 

Clery Act- Required Emergency Notifications and Timely Warnings. If there is a significant emergency or dangerous situation that occured within Clery geography an Emergency Notification will go out to the campus community. Timely warnings will be issued when specific Clery crime(s) occur on Clery geography when the crimes pose a serious or ongoing threat. If law enforcement has knowledge of a serious threat of violence against identifiable victims we would do our best to notify the victims. 

What is one piece of advice you would offer to a survivor? 

I would recommend they reach out to an advocate (CARE, STESA, DV Solutions, DA Victim Witness), they will be able to inform them of their rights, resources and be a consistent person they can count on throughout this process. 

What is a SART exam? 

A SART exam is a forensic medical exam for the purpose of collecting evidence of a sexual assault. It is conducted in a confidential location performed by a nurse specially trained in sexual assault examinations. A survivor can participate in as much or as little of the exam as they desire. The SART exam should be performed within 5 days of the assault. It is recommended to obtain a SART exam as soon as practical in order to have a higher likelihood of collecting evidence. 

Do I need a SART exam to pursue an incident criminally? 

ou do not need a SART exam to move forward in a criminal investigation, however, the evidence collection of the SART exam will be helpful to the case and possible prosecution. 

If this wasn't your job, what would your job be? 

I would love to work as a breakfast server, getting to know the locals and meeting tourists, serving them my favourite meal of the day.

What do you do during your time off? 

I enjoy exploring new places with my family on road trips, camping and practicing/teaching yoga. I most recently have been learning how to make some foods from scratch, that has been very fulfilling. 

What is your favorite show? 

This is Us, I cried almost every episode.