GBV TrainingWinona State University’s Gender-Based Violence Grant has been renewed by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women.

“An Integrated Approach to Addressing Gender-Based Violence at WSU” is one of only 45 projects selected by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for funding in FY 2016, according to grant author and project director Tamara Berg.

When this grant was first funded in 2013, WSU began to establish its sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking (gender-based violence) response with the formation of the RE Initiative.

The Re Initiative is committed to REsponding effectively to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking; REimagining and implementing effective GBV prevention strategies; and REdefining campus culture.

Beginning in December 2013, with the support of the grant, WSU established a campus-wide, and community-wide Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT) to develop a shared protocol for gender-based violence (GBV) response and a plan to train campus and community constituencies represented on the CCRT on best practice response to GBV.

WSU also established a peer advocacy and education program. WSU provides on-campus victim services, such as the GBV 24/7 Confidential Helpline (507-457-5610), which is staffed by peer advocates and backed by a professional victim services partner, Women’s Resource Center of Winona (WRC).

WSU developed and continues to expand a comprehensive bystander intervention program that is available to all students and employees. The PACT Program (Prevent. Act. Challenge. Teach. = PACT; adapted with permission from Duke University) utilizes peer educators to reach over 3,000 individuals a year, including all incoming students, campus security, Student Senate, Greek organizations, student athletes, resident assistants, faculty, staff and more. The PACT training sessions for GBV prevention and intervention give students the knowledge, skills and confidence to recognize warning signs of GBV and take preventative action (pre/post data shows increased confidence to intervene and reduced rape myth acceptance).

In the summer of 2015, WSU joined 12 other campuses in the Healthy Masculinity Campus Athletics Project (HMCAP), a year-long initiative funded through the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence against Women. The project focused on positively engaging male college athletes, coaches, and athletic administrators as influential leaders in the prevention of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking on college campuses and in their surrounding communities. Men Can Stop Rape, an OVW TA Provider, in partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance, facilitated the project.

WSU also used the grant to develop materials to educate the campus about GBV, victim rights and resources to support survivors. The RE Initiative has developed new and creative ways to spread awareness of GBV through PSAs, posters, presentations and blogs.

As these efforts have encouraged students to come forward to report GBV and access services, WSU has seen a significant increase in reporting on campus and to law enforcement, as well as a sizable increase in demand for victim services, Berg said.

The renewed grant is worth $300,000. This grant gives “WSU the opportunity to be a leader in the national movement to reduce sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking on campus,” Berg said.

The continuation of the grant will allow WSU to continue expanding prevention education and help fund several new positions for ongoing support in the realm of victim services at the WRC.

The grant will fund a Fulltime GBV Prevention & Intervention Coordinator, a Graduate Assistant and 10 Peer Advocacy and Education Student Help Positions for GBV services.

The grant will also provide funds to contract some of the WRC positions and services, such as the WRC Admin Executive Director, WRC Victim Advocacy Liaison, the WRC Facilitated On-Campus GBV Survivor Support Group and other WRC Staff.

For more information about the grant or the RE Initiative, contact Tamara Berg at Tberg@winona.edu or go to www.winona.edu/RE.

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Brian Waldbillig

Brian is a Public Relations major and Communication Studies minor from Farmington, MN. His hobbies include photography, hiking and going to concerts.