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Sexual Violence Prevention

Northwestern receives federal grant to enhance comprehensive response to sexual violence

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October 27, 2011 | by Pat Vaughan Tremmel

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Efforts to build a comprehensive strategy to prevent and respond to sexual violence on campus have been advanced with a $300,000 grant that Northwestern University received from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women.

To be eligible, grant applicants had to show that a team already was working to provide comprehensive violence prevention and treatment services on campus.The efforts put in place by the Northwestern Campus Coalition on Sexual Violence (CCSV), formed in June 2010, was key to winning the award, according to Laura Ann Stuart, the sexual health education and violence prevention coordinator at Northwestern.

The federal grant will be used primarily

• to hire a full-time coordinator of sexual violence response services and advocacy,

• to create an on-campus center that stresses a victim-centered response to sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking,

• to enhance website and marketing materials that explain what to expect from campus and community services related to sexual violence, and

• to increase training to prevent and respond to sexual violence for Northwestern police officers, administrators, security personnel and student leaders in collaboration with community partners such as the Evanston Police Department.  

The bulk of the money from the federal grant will be used to hire the sexual violence victim advocate and to establish the Center for Awareness, Response & Education (CARE). A CARE website already has been launched. The website (http://www.northwestern.edu/care/) lists resources on and off campus for those who have experienced sexual violence and offers liaison services for students. The website also offers information on training, workshops and programs and addresses issues surrounding sexual violence, healthy relationships and sexuality.

“The CARE website, the new center that will be created, the advocate that will be hired and the enhanced training of Northwestern administrators in collaboration with community partners all are major steps in providing a campus-wide strategy to responding to sexual violence on campus,” Stuart said. “And we couldn’t have gotten this grant without the wonderful team that we already have in place.”

The Northwestern Campus Coalition on Sexual Violence reports to Patricia Telles-Irvin, vice president of student affairs, and includes 60 students, faculty and staff members who meet once a month during the academic year. The steering committee, which meets twice a month, includes Stuart and members from the Northwestern University Police Department, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, the Women's Center, the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution and the Office of Change Management.

The coalition has been working to catalog existing sexual violence prevention programs, policies and services, to benchmark them against national standards and to recommend improvements. A special focus has been placed on programs and services for traditionally underrepresented groups, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, male students, international students and students of color. 

Topics: University