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UW-Madison awarded grant to address sexual assault, stalking, dating violence

January 22, 2009

The University of Wisconsin–Madison has been selected to receive a three-year, $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Office on Violence Against Women to help address the causes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

The grant program is designed to encourage institutions of higher education to adopt comprehensive, coordinated responses to the issues.

The effort, titled, “Community Problems, Community Solutions: Building Capacity to End Violence Against Women at UW–Madison,” will be coordinated by University Health Services (UHS) under the direction of Carmen Hotvedt, violence prevention specialist.

The Office on Violence Against Women received 131 applications for more than $40 million in 2008, and UW–Madison was one of 21 projects selected for funding.

“This award is an outstanding opportunity for our campus,” says Hotvedt. “Unfortunately, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence are problems at every university in the nation.

“At UW–Madison, we have worked for years to enhance education and prevention,” she adds. “This grant gives us an opportunity to address root causes and build upon the expertise of first responders to increase justice for survivors and the campus at large.”

The University Subcommittee on Sexual Assault and Dating Violence will serve as an advisory body to grant activities, which include the following:

  • Offering an online educational tool to incoming students to help supplement existing efforts to educate new students and their parents about sexual assault and dating violence.
  • Hiring a prevention and training coordinator to foster increased collaboration between prevention and intervention efforts.
  • Strengthening training efforts for law enforcement and judicial affairs officers on campus, in part through subcontracts with both Domestic Abuse Intervention Services and the Dane County Rape Crisis Center.
  • Increasing student knowledge about available victim-advocacy services, such as counseling, support, information about legal options and medical services.

“At UW–Madison, our commitment to excellence includes providing staff and students with a safe place to live and learn,” says Dean of Students Lori Berquam. “The impact of sexual assault and dating violence on the campus community can threaten that safety for all of us — victims, friends, faculty and staff. This grant award will allow us to support efforts that have been shown to address those crimes effectively.”

Eighteen separate campus and community offices signed on to the grant application, indicating their commitment to help address violence against women at UW–Madison.

Partners include UHS, several offices in the Offices of the Dean of Students, the University of Wisconsin Police Department, the Athletic Department, the Madison Police Department, the Dane County district attorney’s office, Meriter Hospital’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program, Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, the Rape Crisis Center and the student organization PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment.