Thursday, September 29

Department of Justice: Justice Department Awards $25 Million to Address Sexual Violence on Campuses

The Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) today announced 61 grants totaling $25 million to help students who are victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.  In fiscal year 2016, OVW is awarding twice as many grants (45) to institutions of higher education compared to last year.  Also this year, OVW is awarding 16 grants to organizations that will provide legal assistance to victims on campuses.

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The recipients of these competitive awards will work to deliver effective, comprehensive and coordinated strategies that help survivors heal; reduce campus sexual and domestic violence; and improve the institution’s response to these crimes.  The awards will make possible a range of services, including specialized training for campus law enforcement, healthcare providers, university housing personnel and others who are often first responders.  The Legal Assistance for Victims Program grant recipients will assist students – who generally do not know about legal options and
resources – with legal needs associated with these crimes.

OVW encourages colleges and universities to use data from a campus climate survey to determine their institution’s specific needs and create a customized plan to respond.  Campus climate surveys identify the nature and scope of the problem by describing student behaviors and perceptions, as well as pointing out opportunities for intervention and prevention.  The department developed and validated a free survey that is particularly useful.

“Schools that individualize their response to sexual, dating and domestic violence are better able to meet the unique needs of their student populations, especially underserved groups,” said OVW Principal Deputy Director Bea Hanson, Ph.D.  “Coordinated, comprehensive responses allow college communities to develop sustainable strategies to address these crimes.”

Also during September, which is National Campus Safety Awareness Month, OVW has published a series of blog posts on best practices for keeping campuses safe for all.

For more information about campus sexual assault, visit [external link].

Recipients of Awards under OVW’s Campus Grant Program

Northwest Arkansas Community College; Scripps College (California); Saint Leo University Inc. (Florida); Columbus State University (Georgia); Georgia College and State University, Georgia; Mercy College of Health Sciences (Iowa); Upper Iowa University; Regents of the University of Idaho; Benedictine University (Illinois); Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; Manchester University (Indiana); Grambling State University Student Counseling WRC (Louisiana); Springfield Technical Community College (Massachusetts); Wheaton College (Massachusetts); Loyola University Maryland Inc.; Prince Georges Community College (Maryland); Siena Heights University (Michigan); Winona State University (Minnesota); The Curators of the University of Missouri (Rolla); Coahoma Community College (Mississippi); Jackson State University (Mississippi); North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University; North Carolina Central University; Doane College (Nebraska); Nebraska Wesleyan University; Saint Anselm College (New Hampshire); Felician University, a New Jersey Nonprofit Corporation; Georgian Court University (New Jersey); College of Mount Saint Vincent (New York) Kent State University (Ohio); The University of Toledo (Ohio); The University of Tulsa (Oklahoma); Western Oregon University; Gettysburg College (Pennsylvania); York College of Pennsylvania; Benedict College (South Carolina); University of South Dakota; Austin College (Texas); Texas Lutheran University; Utah State University; Emory & Henry College (Virginia); University of Mary Washington (Virginia); President and Fellows of Middlebury College (Vermont); Carroll University (Wisconsin); and Fairmont State University (West Virginia).

Recipients of Awards under OVW’s Legal Assistance for Victims Program:

Peace Over Violence (California); Pine Tree Legal Assistance (Maine); Casa Myrna Vazquez (Massachusetts); Tubman (Minnesota); Legal Services Eastern Missouri; SAFE Harbor (Montana); Capital District Women’s Bar Association Legal Project (New York); Sanctuary for Families (New York); Legal Aid Society Rochester (New York); Unity House of Troy (New York); Victim Rights Law Center (Massachusetts); Prairie State Legal Services (Illinois); End Domestic Abuse/Wisconsin Coalition; Mid-Minnesota Legal Services; Manhattan Legal Services (New York); and Legal Aid Society of Mid-NY.

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OVW provides leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to reduce violence against women through the implementation of the Violence Against Women Act and subsequent legislation.  Created in 1995, OVW administers financial and technical assistance to communities across the country that are developing programs, policies and practices aimed at ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.  In addition to overseeing 21 federal grant programs, OVW often undertakes initiatives in response to special needs identified by communities facing acute challenges.

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