UT awarded $214,000 to help sexual assault victims on campus

January 11, 2016 | News, UToday
By Christine Billau

The Ohio Attorney General’s office has awarded The University of Toledo $214,000 to help victims of sexual violence on campus.

The funding is part of $1.2 million in grants given to colleges, universities and rape crisis centers across the state to assist victims of sexual assault on Ohio campuses by providing additional programs, as well as promoting education and awareness.

“The federal grant awarded by Attorney General [Mike] DeWine is an endorsement of our efforts to strengthen the resources we offer to members of our campus community who have experienced sexual assault,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “Dr. Kasey Tucker-Gail, [Senior Vice President for Student Affairs] Kaye Patten Wallace, [Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer] Jovita Thomas-Williams, [Police] Chief Jeff Newton and their teams have championed our commitment to develop a strong support structure to educate students about domestic and sexual violence, assist survivors, and prevent future incidents from occurring on campus. I’m happy to see this progress and proud that our students will have somewhere to turn when they need assistance.”

“Sexual violence is a national issue, and we are excited about the opportunity to provide even more resources to our students,” Newton, UT police chief, said.

UT plans to use the grant money to create the Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness.

Tucker-Gail, associate professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work and Legal Specialties, said UT will hire a new sexual assault counselor and a domestic violence counselor to provide direct victim services, such as crisis response, hospital advocacy and criminal justice advocacy. Plus, the grant includes the addition of graduate student positions.

The funding strengthens The University of Toledo’s commitment to raise awareness and increase education and prevention of sexual assault and violence.

“This is a phenomenal resource for students,” Tucker-Gail said. “This will be one spot for students to go for resources as they deal with difficult relationships and victimization. This grant allows us to strengthen our services to help survivors recover by bringing assistance into one location on campus with a community partner.”

According to a national study, between 3 and 10 percent of college women will be raped. In the same time period, 13 to 40 percent experience sexual victimization other than rape.

Newton said the UT Police Department had one report of sexual assault on campus in 2014.

“However, we know that one of the challenges is creating an environment where victims feel comfortable reporting,” Newton said.

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