Prior to joining GW as Director of the Office of Advocacy and Support, Elisa served as the Advocacy Program Manager at Network for Victim Recovery of DC where she supervised seventeen advocates providing 24/7/365 crisis response and ongoing case management to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, trafficking, and other forms of interpersonal and community violence.
Elisa first entered the human service field over 13 years ago when she founded and directed a community-based program for trauma-impacted high school students in her community facing severe, harsh, and often contextually inappropriate and oppressive “disciplinary” actions from their schools. Since then, Elisa has served survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and surviving family members of homicide victims across the lifespan and in a range of settings. She has also served individuals and families impacted by substance dependence, mental health disruption, war, displacement, and resettlement, as well as chronic poverty and community violence.
Elisa champions a service model oriented around the understanding that cycles of violence are only meaningfully interrupted when we are all willing and able to take responsibility for one another and for all that unfolds in our communities, and a core belief that investing in relationships and communities keeps us safe and free.
Prior to joining GW as Prevention Specialist in the Office of Advocacy and Support, Anissa served as Child and Adolescent Forensic Interviewer at Safe Shores - The D.C. Children’s Advocacy Center. As an interviewer, Ms. Tanksley conducted forensic interviews of children between the ages of 2 and 18 years old following an allegation of physical or sexual abuse, neglect, commercial sexual exploitation, or after a child witnessed violence or homicide. Anissa has over 10 years of experience in the fields of victim advocacy, interviewing, child abuse intervention, and prevention training facilitation. She has worked at four child advocacy centers, conducted over 900 forensic interviews of children and adults, and has testified as an expert witness on the topics of delayed disclosure of abuse in children, memory formation, and trauma.
Anissa began her advocacy and prevention career in 2012 as a Safe Space campus advocate at Bowdoin College, supporting survivors of sexual violence and intimate partner violence. Upon graduation, Anissa became the training facilitator for the Safe Space Program where she worked to train the next generation of advocates and allies in the anti-violence field. Anissa has facilitated support groups for survivors of campus sexual assault, sexual harrassment, intimate partner violence, and commercial sexual exploitation. As an advocate, Anissa prioritizes unconditional positive regard and trauma-informed service provision in her practice and is dedicated to building a future where every survivor of violence has access to trauma-informed care and support.
Prior to joining GW as Advocacy Specialist in the Office of Advocacy and Support, Nia served as a Child Protective Services Specialist for Loudoun County Department of Family Services. As a CPS Specialist, Nia conducted investigations of abuse and neglect involving children, with the goal to preserve and empower families to be able provide holistic care for their children within their own home, community, and culture. When safety could not be maintained within a child’s own home or community, Nia worked to provide a stable, permanent alternative placement while working with their families on reunification with their children whenever safely possible.
Nia began her human services journey as a survivor advocate at the age of 17, working as an intern for a non-profit organization serving survivors of acid violence in her home country of Bangladesh. During her undergraduate career at Rutgers University, Nia worked for the Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance on campus as a peer educator and advocate. Nia also completed the New Jersey state mandated sexual assault and domestic violence training which enabled her to serve on the 24/7 crisis hotline for all members of the college community. Upon completing her MA in Human Rights Studies at Columbia University, Nia joined Children’s Aid – A Safe Way Forward program in NYC serving both survivors and children impacted by intimate partner violence as well as persons causing harm. As an advocate of nine years, Nia holds herself accountable to a survivor-led and client-centered framework in her work to end cycles of violence in our communities. Nia is thrilled to contribute to the creation of a community free from violence in her position as Advocacy Specialist.
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