October 05, 2016
Michelle Adams O'Regan
Communications and Marketing
The U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women has awarded Saint Anselm College a grant for almost $300,000 under their "Reduce Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking on Campus" program.
Campus projects considered for the grant were required to enhance victim services, implement prevention and education programs, and develop and strengthen campus security and investigation strategies in order to prevent, prosecute and respond to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking crimes on college campuses.
The grant application was a collaborative effort by Pat Shuster, VP for Human Resources and Administration and Title IX Coordinator for the college; Alicia Finn, Dean of Students; and Maura Marshall, Director of College Health Services. Partnering externally with the Goffstown Police Department (GPD) and the YWCA New Hampshire, as well as with many internal departments including College Health Services, the Dean of Students Office, Campus Safety & Security, the Multicultural Center and Education Services, Residential Life, and Campus Ministry, the college will be using the funds to accomplish the following initiatives:
- Establish AVERT-CCR, a Coordinated Community Response Team that builds on the existing AVERT team on campus to include YWCA, GPD, and the Catholic Medical Center (CMC);
- Establish The Harbor, a campus-based center that will draw visibility to issues of sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and stalking on campus (SV/DV), as well as creating a designated place for victims to gain confidential support and advocacy;
- Deliver comprehensive, campus-wide prevention education annually to all Saint Anselm students, faculty, and staff, including mandatory sessions for all new students, a Bringing In the Bystander campaign, and trained peer educators who will lead year-round events and activities;
- Train all investigators, campus security, local law enforcement officers, and Conduct Review Panelists to effectively respond to SV/DV.
Shuster says that this funding is an important step forward, as it will provide vital resources in the college's ongoing efforts to fight sexual assault and violence on campus with educational programs designed for prevention. "We are looking forward to working with all of our partners, who will collaborate with student leaders, faculty, staff, as well as Dr. DiSalvo and the Board of Trustees, on these initiatives."
Dr. DiSalvo agrees. "When I ran the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation I came to understand the need for education and assistance for victims of domestic and dating violence," he says. "This grant will allow Saint Anselm College to take the lead on creating safe spaces on college campuses that can address those needs and provide confidential resources so vital to the healing process."
The college has a robust commitment to providing ongoing prevention and awareness education related to sexual assault, including many student and faculty organized events, campaigns and programs, as well as initiatives organized by the Assault & Violence Education & Reporting Team (AVERT), a cross-constituency group chaired by Shuster and Finn.
"Saint Anselm is truly dedicated to prevention and dedicating a safe place, a center and staffing to focus on these issues of sexual violence, which are so significant to maintaining a culture that values the human dignity and well-being of all," says Finn. "We want to unite national best practices with local and campus expertise."