The U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women has awarded the University of Lynchburg a three-year grant in the amount of $299,288. The grant will help the University increase its efforts to proactively prevent and respond to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking on campus, demonstrating best-practice approaches.
With the grant, the University of Lynchburg will create a Coordinated Community Response Team comprised of representatives from 12 university departments, the City of Lynchburg Police Department, the Lynchburg Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney Victim/Witness Program, and the YWCA’s Sexual Assault Response Program.
The team will strengthen, promote, and evaluate policies, procedures, and engagement initiatives that prevent and respond to incidents on campus.
A key member of the team will be a new, full-time project coordinator who will work collaboratively with the Coordinated Community Response Team, the Campus Victim Services Group, student groups, and community partners to implement project activities that seek to promote a safe campus culture for all. Grant funds will make the new position possible.
Plans include establishing a mandatory prevention and bystander intervention education program for all incoming undergraduate students; expanding training for all campus first responders and adjudication boards; and creating a Campus Victim Services Group.
The Campus Victim Services Group, comprised of highly-trained university counseling, health, and victim advocates, will provide supportive victim services and link victims with community partners for further services, investigation, and legal guidance when needed.
The programs and initiatives that will be developed under the grant are in keeping with the University of Lynchburg’s commitment to campus safety. Recently, the University’s athletics department sponsored training by the One Love Foundation, an organization that educates students about healthy relationships.
“The One Love training was spearheaded by athletics but demonstrates a campus-wide effort that’s already here,” Amanda McGovern, the University’s Title IX coordinator, said. “The grant will allow us to do more.”
Lynchburg was one of 57 colleges and universities from across the U.S. that were awarded grants to address campus violence. More than $18 million dollars in grants were awarded.
“It is vital to keep our students safe on campuses by supporting programs that take a coordinated community approach to education and prevention of sexual assault on our college and university campuses,” OVW Acting Director Katharine Sullivan said in a press release. “OVW is proud of our innovative approach to the development of the campus grant programs.”