Cal State Long Beach gets $200K to prevent sexual assaults

LONG BEACH – California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) has received a $200,000 grant from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to support sexual assault prevention and response efforts, regardless if the victim/survivor reports the incident to law enforcement or other investigatory bodies. Specifically, funding will be directed to CSULB’s Women’s Resource Center. The grant was one of just two awarded and it is renewable for two additional years, making it worth up to $600,000.

“Over the last year, the topic of sexual assaults on university campuses has made some big headlines,” said Carmen Taylor, CSULB’s vice president for student affairs. “It has become a major focus of discussion in state and national legislatures, higher education boards and universities across the country.

“There is also a concerted effort by our own California State University system to improve student safety and prevent sexual assault and violence within all 23 of its campus communities,” she added. “While Cal State Long Beach is a safe campus, there is always more we can do in the areas of prevention and assisting victims of sexual assault. These funds will help us do that.”

The Cal OES Campus Sexual Assault Program was established to create a coordinated and comprehensive community response centered on survivors. Grant funding is directed toward efforts to enhance survivor safety, provide confidential services to sexual assault survivors, hold offenders accountable and prevent incidents.

CSULB will use the grant to fund a full-time sexual assault crisis counselor for crisis intervention, follow-up, accompaniment, and information and referrals for survivors. Funding will also be provided for a half-time University Police Department position for investigation and for coordination of training with the counselor.

“This grant is important because the campus has never had a full-time, crisis counselor advocate devoted to assisting survivors of sexual assault,” said Jeane Caveness, assistant dean of students who also oversees the Women’s Resource Center. “Our goal is to empower employees and students with the knowledge and the tools to provide survivor-centered services that will help victims of sexual assault on our campus move forward and be successful students.”

Caveness, the principal investigator for the grant, said the counselor will be sub-contracted through the local, state-funded rape crisis agency—the YWCA Greater Los Angeles Sexual Assault Crisis Services Agency.

“Through this funding, we will make a difference for the students as we come together as collaborative partners,” said Alva Moreno, executive director of YWCA Greater Los Angeles Sexual Assault Crisis Services.

The grant funds also will be used for required training for the counselor and police investigator from the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) as well as technical assistance from CALCASA in creating the program, including primary prevention and bystander intervention.

The funds also will cover dissemination of information on survivor services and rights; primary prevention programs, including bystander intervention; and marketing to promote the new services for survivors.

 

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Published: Feb. 12, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 44