childhood trauma

ACEing Trauma: Annual Domestic Violence Conference

Adverse Childhood Experiences

The 2024 Annual Elder Abuse Conference covers a range of topics, prevention strategies, and cases related to scams and fraud using digital devices.

We welcome seniors, and professionals who assist seniors with the prevention of elder abuse.

Join us to learn how to better assist seniors and to further your education.

Annual Domestic Violence Conference


Friday, October 4, 2024
8:45 AM – 3:30 PM

Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center
Abingdon, VA

Organized and Planned by the
Southwest Virginia Elder Justice Task Force

$40 FEE


Magistrates/ClerksMagistrates/Clerks will submit their credit hours electronically through the
e-Registration system after the conference.  Their supervisors will then review and approve those credit hours.  
AttorneysPending Approval for 6.0 credit hours by the Virginia Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board.
Guardian Ad LitemPending Approval for 6.0 credit hours for Career Development.
Law EnforcementPending Approval for 6.0 hours Legal Career Development
Adult Protection ServicesAPS workers will receive a certificate of attendance after the conference (with hours attended) to submit to their supervisor for approval of 
continuing education hours up to 5.0 credit hours..

A Special Thank You to Our Sponsors:

Virginia Law Foundation Logo
Savida Health Logo
Anthem Logo

For more information, please contact:

Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society
Director of Development
phone: 276.783.8300, ext. 2011

About Our Presenters

Becky Haas

Becky Haas

Becky Haas is an international advocate and trainer on using a trauma informed approach and the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study.  She is a pioneer in creating trauma informed communities. The work she led in Northeast Tennessee was recognized by SAMHSA in 2018 as a model for cities to follow.  Becky authors sector specific professional development trainings with two receiving statewide accreditation in Tennessee as evidence-based training and one earning national accreditation.  She has a deep understanding of the importance for every professional sector to have intimate knowledge of healthy early childhood development and the potential for early adversity to disrupt that healthy development.  In 2022, she was awarded the Friends of Children Award by the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth for her statewide efforts to reduce the effects of childhood trauma.

Aimee Stockenstroom

Aimee Stockenstroom

Aimee Stockenstroom, LCSW, is a highly skilled clinician and trainer specializing in intimate partner and sexual violence with a demonstrated history working both nationally and internationally. Her experience includes providing individual and group psychotherapy to adult survivors of intimate partner and sexual violence, as well as training advocates in local domestic violence and sexual assault agencies, law enforcement, community allied professionals, and medical healthcare professionals. Her training covers various topics such as neurobiology of trauma, trauma responses, trauma aware advocacy, the impact of trauma, and the importance of collaborative partnerships between advocates, medical healthcare professionals, and law enforcement in supporting survivors through the legal justice system. Furthermore, Aimee has offered consultation services to domestic violence and sexual assault agencies, focusing on program and policy development within a trauma-informed framework. Notably, she is an expert witness capable of testifying on subjects including trauma responses, the impact of trauma on the brain and memory, dynamics of domestic violence, and common responses observed in adult survivors of intimate partner and sexual violence.

Ashleigh McMahan

Ashleigh McMahan

Ashleigh McMahan, BSN, RN, CEN, SANE-A, is a dedicated healthcare professional with a passion for serving vulnerable and underserved populations. Graduating from the ETSU College of Nursing in 2016 as President of her class, she was accepted into the Nurse Residency Program where she honed her skills at the Vanderbilt Adult Emergency Department and ascended to Staff Leader/Charge Nurse. In 2019, she expanded her scope by becoming a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE), a role she continued while travel nursing across the country. Now, as Program Coordinator for the HELP-SARA Project, Ashleigh trains registered nurses and nurse practitioners in rural Appalachia to become SANEs as well as consults with law enforcement, first responders, advocates, and multiple other community programs, bridging gaps in support and education.

John-Paul Abner

John-Paul Abner, Ph.D.

John-Paul Abner graduated from the University of Florida with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (Child and Adolescent emphasis) in 1996 where he had the honor of studying under Dr. Sheila Eyberg, creator of PCIT.  A professor in psychology at Milligan College, he is one of 21 people in the world who has been designated as a Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) Global Trainer by PCIT International.  He has conducted research on the application of PCIT to children with autism spectrum disorders and is currently an active promoter of PCIT to the autism community.    He is the Director of PCIT Training for the East Tennessee State University Center of Excellence for Children in State Custody where he helps coordinate a statewide PCIT dissemination effort to help children in the foster care system.  Dr. Abner is a frequent speaker at PCIT conferences where he focuses primarily on clinical issues.  He is passionate about PCIT and CARE and this passion often comes out at relatively high speed and volume.   He favors a highly interactive style of presentation, and his presentations often feature storytelling, games, unintentional physical humor, and prizes of minimal value.

8:45 amWelcome Grand Hall
Joey Carico, Executive Director, Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society
9:00 amOpening: KEYNOTE
Basics of ACEs, Using Trauma Informed Approaches and Fostering Resilience” Grand Hall
Becky Haas, Expert in ACEs, Author, and Speaker
Trauma is a widespread, harmful, and costly public health problem. It occurs because of violence, abuse, neglect, loss, disaster, war, and harmful experiences. National statistics indicate that at least 70% of adults have experienced trauma.  This presentation will equip professionals from all sectors to understand the basics of trauma, the significance of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study and how to improve service delivery by using a trauma informed approach.
10:15 amBreak & Session Change
10:30 amBreakout Sessions (Choose 1 Room)

“Play is a powerful tool for building families and healing from adverse childhood experiences. However, we live in a play deprived culture.” – Grand Hall
Dr. John Paul Abner, Milligan University Professor in Psychology and OT
Play is a powerful tool for building families and healing from adverse childhood experiences.  However, we live in a play deprived culture.  This presentation will examine evidenced based play interventions for children and families as well as examining how we can create a more play informed culture.

“Invisible Traumas: Go beyond ACES” – Room 103/104
Aimee Stockenstroom, LCSW, Trainer in Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence, Justice 3D
This presentation shifts the focus from merely acknowledging events to addressing the often-overlooked traumatic wounds that individuals inevitably encounter, whether by design or circumstance. Trauma like this can result in the anguish of feeling disconnected from oneself, stemming from unmet core needs which can shape individuals’ thoughts, emotions, and beliefs in profound ways.  Repeating trauma of this sort, without repair, can prompt individuals to develop adaptations to cope with their experiences, often only working temporarily or failing altogether.   Participants will acquire insights into the enduring effects of unaddressed trauma, which may not be captured by the ACE questionnaire, but are nonetheless likely to emerge.
11:45 amLunch Break – Grand Hall
12:30 pmBreakout Sessions (Choose 1 Room)

“Basics of and Using Trauma Informed Approaches with Justice Involved Individuals” – Grand Hall
Becky Haas, Expert in ACEs, Author, and Speaker
Research indicates that 75% of adults and 93% of youth who are justice involved have been exposed to multiple traumatic events.  Developing a trauma informed approach is an evidence-based practice that teaches service providers in the justice system the vulnerabilities of trauma survivors, effective interventions to reduce re-traumatization and hold accountable, while promote healing in their lives. This presentation will provide participants with a basic understanding of trauma as well as practical strategies for implementing a trauma informed approach.

“Four Little “F” Words: Understanding Trauma Informed Care and The Neurobiology Behind It” – Room 103/104
Ashleigh McMahan, BSN, RN, CEN, SANE-A, Projector Coordinator,
Educator, College of Nursing, ETSU

Join us for an insightful session where we delve into the intricate ways traumatic events impact individuals. Trauma manifests uniquely in each person, influencing their thoughts and reactions in varying ways.  In this course, we will explore the four distinct ways the brain responds to trauma, delving into the scientific underpinnings behind these reactions.
     We will also examine the nuanced differences in how trauma affects children versus adults, shedding light on the developmental and psychological implications. By delving into research and statistics, we will uncover the profound effects of experiencing trauma at different stages of life, offering valuable insights for professionals working with diverse populations. Do not miss this opportunity to deepen your understanding of trauma’s neurological and psychological dimensions, empowering you to provide more informed and effective support to those in need.
1:45 pmBreak
2:00 pmCLOSING: “Resilience: How Can We Help?” – Grand Hall
Aimee Stockenstroom, LCSW, Trainer in Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence, Justice 3D
Compelling research highlights the crucial role of human connections in building resilience. Studies consistently show that having people around us before, during, and after challenging events aids in overcoming difficulties. As social beings, we naturally seek and maintain relationships with others. However, our understanding goes beyond simple verbal support. By delving into the workings of our nervous system, we uncover how genuine presence and empathy can strongly boost resilience. Rather than trying to “fix” emotions, the emphasis lies in validating and acknowledging the legitimacy of emotional responses in line with personal experiences. This presentation aims to provide practical insights for fostering meaningful connections and strengthening resilience in tough times by examining these subtle dynamics.
3:15 pmCall to Action – Grand Hall
Gary Cody, Director of Development, Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society

To come.