Grant allows U anti-violence center to improve Web site

The 12-month grant will allow the project to develop an online interactive training module.

Sam Boeser

The University’s Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse received a $450,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice for the continuation of its Violence Against Women Online Resources.

The online resource project began in 1997 as a collaborative project between the center and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women.

The resource offers up-to-date online materials addressing a variety of issues relating to violence against women.

Ann Kranz, director of the online project, said the latest grant will allow the project to maintain what it currently offers, as well as to expand in two new areas.

First, the 12-month grant will allow the project to develop an online interactive training module. The module will train criminal justice professionals and advocates on issues relating to culturally competent practices. The project will work with the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community, Kranz said.

The online project is a Web site that “provides law, criminal justice, advocacy and social-service professionals with up-to-date information on interventions to stop violence against women,” according to the site. The articles are peer-reviewed, and the grant will also be used to share the site’s peer-review technology with similar resources throughout the country.

“This allows experts in the field of criminal justice and academic professionals across the country to quickly review the content without having to mail the information out or bring people in,” Kranz said.

Peer reviews ensure the quality of the information before it is disseminated to the general public and will help stop myths and stereotypes regarding violence against women.

The online resource uses a 25-member national advisory board to set topic priorities and to screen the content posted on the resource Web site to verify its accuracy.

“You are not going to find any junk on our Web site,” Kranz said.

The grant will also allow the online resources to maintain the approximately 200 full-text resources already available.

The articles come from a variety of authors who represent different programs.

In the past, Violence Against Women Online Resources was the recipient of a Google Grant, which has allowed the resource to be more prominently displayed on the search engine and has increased the visibility of the program on the Web.

The online resource has experienced tremendous growth since its creation seven years ago, and the site has more than 1,600 user sessions each day, for a total of approximately 50,000 user sessions each month.

The resource is free for all users and accepts requests for information from users.