CSULB has been awarded a two-year, $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to help fund “Project SAFE: A Campus Response Toward Eliminating Violence.” The federal grant is awarded through the DOJ’s Office On Violence Against Women.
Project SAFE will present educational programs and resource materials addressing violence-against-women issues as they relate to the university community.
“Our long-term goal is to establish a program that will be incorporated into the university as part of regular funding,” said Marcela Chávez, director of CSULB Women’s Resource Center and project director for the grant.
Intimate partner abuse and sexual assault sensitivity and awareness training are the focus of programming for faculty, students, staff and administrators. Discussion about rape by an acquaintance or date will be included in all presentations because 85 percent of sexual assaults/rapes are perpetrated by someone known to the survivor/victim. An introduction to these issues will be part of the orientation for all first time and transfer students.
The grant proposal was submitted by the Women’s Resource Center in collaboration with the Long Beach Sexual Assault Crisis Agency (SACA) and Interval House, also in Long Beach.
“We work closely with SACA and Interval House, and their expertise will add strength – and staff – to our program. The collaborative nature of the grant will also enable us to expand our current campus outreach, as well as provide stability and continuity for our programming,” said Chávez, “and provides additional leadership and expertise for meeting our program goals.”
Courtney Ahrens, CSULB psychology professor and researcher in the area of sexual assault and interpersonal abuse, is assisting with developing both the needs assessment and project evaluation. Women’s Resource Center staff members Barbara Sinclair, Lynne Coenen and Project SAFE assistant Christy Rose Smith are also participating.
According to Chávez, the grant award, which was submitted in spring 2006, was announced at an important time for the university. Last October, CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed issued Executive Order 993 providing systemwide guidelines for implementing the governor’s “California Campus Blueprint to Address Sexual Assault and other Sexual Assault Legislation.” The order requires all campuses to develop plans for sexual assault prevention and education training and for improving responses to sexual assaults.
“We are one of only eight universities in California to be awarded funding for a comprehensive program like this,” said Chávez. “In addition to added expertise, it also supports the formation of a broad-based campus advisory group.”
Chávez also added, “Zero indifference toward sexual assault and interpersonal abuse is the way to end the violence on campus and in the world, and empowering people to speak up and out is key to creating a safe, supportive learning environment.”
For more information on Project SAFE, contact Chávez at 562/985-8575.