September 30, 2016

Coalition of Baltimore-area colleges and community partners wins $750K grant from Department of Justice to strengthen sexual violence response and prevention

Ten Baltimore-area colleges and universities together have won a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to generate new strategies to prevent, respond to, investigate, and hold offenders accountable for sexual assault and dating violence, and strengthen trauma-informed, victim services on campus and in the community.

The Baltimore Area Higher Education Coalition against Sexual Violence comprises the Community College of Baltimore County, Coppin State University, Goucher College, Loyola University Maryland, McDaniel College, Maryland Institute College of Art, Notre Dame of Maryland University, Stevenson University, Towson University, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. More than 125,000 students attend and frequently travel among these institutions. The community partners on the project are local victim service provider TurnAround Inc., the Baltimore City Police Department, and the Baltimore Collegetown Network.

The coalition’s goal is to further develop a comprehensive, coordinated community response that focuses on a survivor-centered, trauma-informed approach to students who experience sexual assault and dating violence.

“Notre Dame of Maryland University is very pleased to be able to work together with our fellow Baltimore colleges and universities and partner organizations on addressing the real challenges faced by so many women and men of sexual and gender based violence on college campuses,” said Greg FitzGerald, Chief of Staff & Title IX Coordinator.

“Working together alongside the Justice Department, Baltimore has the opportunity to become a leader on providing innovative victim-centered services and prevention strategies for our campuses and the region. Loyola will receive and administer all grant funds for the coalition over the course of the three-year project. Kurita will serve as project director.

Once the grant funding becomes available on Oct. 1, 2016, the 10 schools and three community partners will pursue the following objectives:

  • Increase awareness of and access to survivor services on and off campus;
  • Assess and enhance the capacity of campus response teams to address sexual violence;
  • Develop videos highlighting prevention efforts, bystander solutions, and SAFE exam options;
  • Provide comprehensive survivor-centered, trauma-informed trainings for campus constituencies. Trainings will include specific information on serving LGBT students and students of color; and
  • Develop an interactive mobile application for all students enrolled in coalition schools that provides relevant and timely information no matter which coalition school campus they may be visiting.

The coalition hopes to build on the extensive set of response, prevention, and training initiatives already in place. All 10 schools offer survivors on- and off-campus counseling, reporting options, academic accommodations, housing accommodations, employment accommodations, campus safety accommodations, and transportation to the emergency room. The schools have signed internal and external memorandums of understanding demonstrating a commitment to providing a coordinated community response to sexual violence. They hold mandatory prevention and education programming for new and transfer students during orientation; the programming introduces students to services on and off campus, gives notice of rights and options, explains the disciplinary processes, and provides information about bystander intervention. In addition, each campus has a Sexual Assault Response Team that meets regularly to discuss protocols and procedures to respond to incidents of sexual violence.

The grant was awarded by the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women in the “Grants to Reduce Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking on Campus” category. The Baltimore coalition received the maximum award total available in this category.