Assumption Awarded Grant to Expand Proactive Safety Efforts
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) has awarded the Assumption College Department of Public Safety a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) STOP: (Services, Training, Officers, Prosecutors) grant to support the College’s pro-active efforts to educate and inform as part of its ongoing efforts to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault.
Assumption is the only institution of higher learning in Massachusetts to receive the $22,500 award, which is administered by the EOPSS. The funding will go toward expanding the College’s comprehensive support and response system for students.
“Sexual assault and dating violence are serious concerns for all colleges and universities,” said Assumption College Police Chief Steven Carl. “This grant will provide Assumption community members access to confidential advocacy services specifically designed to enhance their education of these issues as well as our response to such incidents."
Funding through Assumption’s fiscal 2014 STOP VAWA Grant will bolster support for victims by providing no-cost, confidential access to an independent civilian victim advocate as well as high-quality training on sexual assault and other relevant topics for campus police officers, College administrators, Student Affairs and Residential Life staff, and student leaders.
“The key to a successful effort in decreasing incidents of sexual assault and domestic violence is increasing opportunities for education and training across a wide-spectrum of the campus community,” said Catherine WoodBrooks, Ph.D., Assumption’s vice president for student affairs. “We are very pleased that this grant will enhance our training opportunities and provide an additional resource for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.”
In addition to the initiatives that will be expanded through the grant, Assumption has developed a number of other proactive campus safety programs:
- Each fall during First-Year Student Orientation, all new students participate in “Bringing in the Bystander” training, which introduces students to the concept of the “pro-social,” or proactive, bystander.
- The College is in the third, and final, year of a shared VAWA grant with The College of the Holy Cross, Clark University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute that has enabled the colleges to expand on campus educational programs and collaborate with the other Worcester campuses on determining best practices.
- Members of Assumption’s peer education group, Peers Advocating Wellness for Students (PAWS), provide education related to sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. During the week of Monday, Oct. 27, 2014, PAWS members encouraged Assumption community members to sign a banner and to wear purple to recognize Assumption as observing Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Assumption has also implemented an anti-stalking policy and launched a “Sexual Assault Facts, Education & Response” website, which serves as a resource for students to learn how to identify and take precautions against such incidents, as well as how, and to whom, incidents should be reported.
Kimberly Dunbar, Director of Public Affairs, Assumption College