CSU, Chico News

Department of Justice Grant Funds Collaborative Effort To Reduce Sexual Assaults In Campus Communities

Date: 02-17-2009

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

A consortium of California State University, Chico and Butte College has obtained a nearly half-million-dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to collaborate with community partners to reduce and respond to the crimes of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking in our campus communities.

The Collaborative Response to Violence Project was funded by the Department of Justice’s Violence Against Women Office. CSU, Chico political science professor Lori Beth Way was the primary author of the grant proposal and is project director. The $471,529 grant is for three years, with the possibility of continuation funding.

“One in five female college students is sexually assaulted, and most suffer in silence,” said Way. “This situation is intolerable. These women and all victims of these violent crimes need support, and we need education and a shared commitment to prevent these terrible crimes from continuing.”

The project is funding offices on the CSU, Chico and Butte College campuses, called Safe Place, where students can receive information and support related to surviving sexual assault, intimate partner violence or stalking. Volunteers from Catalyst Domestic Violence Services and Rape Crisis will be available in Safe Place for victim support services. Education and project collaboration efforts are also coordinated out of those offices.

On the CSU, Chico campus, Safe Place is located in Siskiyou Hall, room 115, and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Dawn Frank is the newly hired violence prevention response coordinator. Safe Place will be hosting an Open House on March 2, 4-6 pm in Siskiyou 115.

Collaborative Response to Violence Project partners include Catalyst Domestic Violence Services, Rape Crisis, Chico Police Department, Butte County Victim-Witness Program, Butte County Sheriff’s Department and Oroville Police Department. CSU, Chico campus partners include the University Police Department, the Counseling and Wellness Center, the AS Women’s Center and University Housing.

A major initiative and requirement of the grant project is to educate all incoming students on the dynamics of sexual assault, intimate partner violence and stalking, with the objective of reducing these crimes and strengthening community and campus support for victims. Frank and other trained staff will be talking with college classes, distributing informational brochures and working with student groups with the goal of increasing student, staff and faculty safety.

Way said CSU, Chico was one of 21 universities to be funded by the Department of Justice’s Violence Against Women Office last year, out of 131 applicants.