The University of Toledo has received a competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to enhance efforts to prevent and address sexual assault victimization on college campuses.
The UT Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness will use the $299,202 grant to create a coordinated community response team to develop prevention, education, and intervention policies and practices for sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.“Addressing victimization on college campuses is a national discussion right now, and we want to be at the forefront of successfully addressing these issues and serve as an example to other universities on how to do it right by investing in education, prevention and intervention programming that are unique to a campus community,” said Dr. Kasey Tucker-Gail, associate professor of criminal justice and director of the Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness.
The response team would include the UT Police Department, the Toledo Police Department, YWCA Hope Center and other University and expanded community partners working together to strengthen existing education and prevention programming and also the delivery of comprehensive strategies that help survivors heal.
“This is an aggressive community education initiative to encourage a culture that is comfortable talking about and identifying sexual and domestic violence so that we can better prevent and address these crimes that occur far too often on college campuses,” said Dr. Megan Stewart, assistant professor of criminal justice and the program coordinator for the project.
The grant will support training on sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking for members of the University community, the creation and implementation of a campus-wide bystander intervention program, and an awareness campaign with various activities and events throughout the school year to engage students.
The Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women awarded grants totaling $25 million to address this important issue. Only 45 institutions of higher education in the country received funding for these initiatives. This announcement was made at the conclusion of September as National Campus Safety Awareness Month
“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,” U.S. Office Violence Against Women Principal Deputy Director Bea Hanson said. “Coordinated, comprehensive responses allow college communities to develop sustainable strategies to address these crimes.”