September 17, 2020

Susquehanna University has been awarded $299,328 from the U.S. Department of Justice to continue work to prevent sexual assault and relationship violence.

The funding, awarded from the DOJ’s Office on Violence Against Women, is a continuation of the university’s original 2018 grant from that office.

“This grant gives Susquehanna University the ability to continue to build upon all of the promising work we’ve undertaken in the last three years,” said Christiana Paradis, coordinator of Susquehanna’s Violence Intervention and Prevention Center.

The VIP Center was established in 2018 through the original DOJ OVW funding, which also supported the creation of a 19-member Coordinated Community Response Team, which includes community partners from Transitions of PA, Snyder County District Attorney’s Office, Evangelical Community Hospital and the Selinsgrove Borough Police Department.

The new funding will:

  • Expand training and technical assistance opportunities for the CCRT.
  • Help the team establish a lethality assessment program at Susquehanna, which is a strategy to prevent domestic violence homicides and serious injuries.
  • Increase access to materials in languages other than English.
  • Support the hiring of a graduate assistant to expand the VIP Center’s work engaging men across campus.
  • Broaden the reach of the VIP Center’s Green Dot bystander intervention programming.

The new funding will also continue to support the work the VIP Center has conducted over the past three years, which includes:

  • Training 100% of all first-year students in sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking prevention, 75% of whom attended two or more trainings during orientation and over 25% attended more than five hours of prevention training.
  • Establishing a 24/7 counseling and advocacy services for students through Transitions of PA.
  • Providing continuing education opportunities for members of the university’s Code of Conduct Board and public safety officers.

“Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking is a problem on every campus and in every community,” Paradis said. “We believe that with appropriate prevention strategies we can work toward creating a community that is free from violence someday. On campus we say, ‘It’s On Us’ to #ProtectTheNest, an idea that we hope our students spread off-campus and in their own communities.”