UC Davis Gets $1M to Lead UC Response to Violence Against Women

STOCKTON, Calif. – The University of California (UC), Davis, will use a new, nearly $1 million federal grant to help the UC’s 10 campuses improve their response to violence against women.

The three-year project, supported by a $999,369 grant from the U.S.Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, aims to coordinate a model program to reduce the incidence of campus-based violence against women, including domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The program will also focus on improving the quality of response when such incidents do occur.

The innovations it promises in cross-campus partnerships could benefit a broad range of colleges and universities throughout the country.

In 2000, the Justice Department published a study on the sexual victimization of college women. It concluded that there are more than27 incidents of violence against women for every 1,000 female students, and fewer than 5 percent are reported to police or campus officials.

“With this grant, the University of California is taking a major step forward to reduce violence against women and improve assistance for those who are affected by it,” said UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef. “Together, we can enhance services throughout the UC system and beyond.”

Last December, Vanderhoef brought the new federal grant opportunity to the attention of his UC chancellor colleagues, who strongly endorsed this collected effort to reduce the number of sexual assaults throughout the university system. Judy Sakaki, UC’s vice president for Student Affairs, encouraged discussions among her colleagues, and they expedited the gathering of information for the grant application, made through the Campus Violence Prevention Program at UC Davis.

“Again, the University of California is attempting to solve a serious societal problem,” Sakaki said. “The united efforts of our 10 campuses can make a dramatic difference.”

“We are looking forward to building upon and sharing the expertise we have gained through our long and productive collaboration with the federal Office on Violence Against Women,” said Jennifer Beeman, director of the violence prevention program at UC Davis since 1992 and the administrator of the new systemwide project. “We want to work with other campuses to create a model intervention within the state of California.”

UC Davis will lead the effort to develop a systemwide strategic plan to enhance prevention programs and victim support services. The project will be informed by the experience of UC Davis’ own nationally recognized violence prevention program, which has already received $1.9 million from the Justice Department since 1999, and other campuses that have been awarded similar grants.

The project will encourage adoption of comprehensive campus guidelines for responding to incidents and referring victims to campus and community resources. In addition, it will help to bring nationally recognized best practices and policies on violence against women to the campuses and to implement others developed at UC.

The project will collaborate with two major organizations. The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA), which represents more than two thirds of the state’s 90 rape crisis centers, will bridge the project with rape crisis centers in communities surrounding campuses. The California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training will help develop and deliver specialized training for law enforcement agencies on campuses.

Sandy Ortman, director of special programs for CALCASA, said UC Davis and its violence prevention program are well positioned to lead the project because the campus program is well recognized and respected nationally. “UC Davis has the experience, the commitment to the issues—and a chancellor who understands the issues,” Ortman said.

Specifically, the project will use the grant to:

  • provide rapid and effective intervention and support services for women who are victims of violence or sexual assault, in part by training law enforcement and judicial affairs officers to be more sensitive to the needs of victims;
  • strengthen institutional systems and commitments to more frequently and rapidly identify, prosecute and punish perpetrators;
  • increase awareness of the problem of violence against women on college campuses;
  • develop specialized outreach and intervention programs to address violence against women of color, international students and traditionally underserved women; and
  • create materials and procedures that can be replicated in other college and university settings.

Ortman commended the UC system for working to reduce the number of incidents against women and to encourage more to be reported—something that people can misread.

“Increased reporting of incidents against women can actually be a good thing,” she said. “What it means is that you provide helpful, caring and appropriate services so women come forward. It speaks to the level of service being provided.”

In fact, reported incidences of violence against women at UC Davis have risen. The total number of sex offenses (forcible and non-forcible) reported at UC Davis increased from 33 in 2004 to 68 in 2006, according to the latest statistics prepared in compliance with the Clery Act.

Beeman and others attribute those higher reporting numbers to effective outreach programs and services that make it as comfortable as possible for victims to come forward.


UC Davis Oct. 2 press release

UC Davis Campus Violence Prevention Program: Established in 1979, the UC Davis Campus Violence Prevention Program has extensive experience in assisting survivors of violence and in guiding campus policies and procedures. It provides 24-hour advocacy, crisis intervention, support groups and educational programming aimed at reducing incidents of violence and hate.

About Jennifer Beeman: Beeman has been working with victims of violence against women for nearly 30 years and is a nationally recognized specialist on violence against women issues. She is a member of the advisory group to the California Medical Training Center as well as the national advisory board of the technical and training project for the Office on Violence Against Women’s grants for college campuses. She served on the California Campus Sexual Assault Task Force and was a member of the state advisory committee for sexual assault victim services and prevention programs for the Office of Criminal Justice Planning.

About the University of California: With more than 214,000 students and 170,000 faculty and staff, the University of California is one of the largest and most respected university systems in the world. In addition to its 10 campuses—at Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz—UC operates five medical centers, 15 health professional schools and three law schools.

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