Virginia Colleges Receive Federal Grant to Combat Domestic Violence
The U.S. Department of Justice has awarded two Virginia universities an almost $500,000 grant to train and educate their students and staff about domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
The three-year grant, from the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women, will be divided between the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), according to the schools.
VCU will receive $276,440, part of which will be used to hire a LGBT violence prevention specialist, according to a January 2014 report on the school’s website.
VCU also plans to establish The Campus Alliance to End Violence, according to a report in The Commonwealth Times, the school’s independent student newspaper. The alliance will create community-response teams that will be responsible for developing anti-violence protocols and training.
The University of Richmond also plans to hire an additional staff member to help the school provide domestic violence education and prevention programs, according to The Collegian, the school’s student newspaper. Part of the new employee’s task will be to encourage victims of sexual misconduct to report the incidents to police, The Collegian reported in January.
“We have a good three decades of national statistics when it comes to violence on college campuses,” Dan Fabian, an associate dean at Richmond, told the newspaper. “And they know one in four women will be a victim of violence and one in eight to one in 10 men will be a victim.”
Grant money will also be used at both schools to provide campus-wide training on the issue. The training will teach students, law enforcement officers and first responders about domestic violence prevention and the proper response to victims, according to a release from VCU. The Collegian also reported that law enforcement officers would receive training in investigating sexual assault and related cases.
The Office on Violence Against Women has distributed $4.7 billion in grants since its establishment in 1995. The agency assists communities in developing programs to combat domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. It now administers 21 grants, including the Campus Grant Program.