Program given grant to fight sexual violence

Liz Bogut

The U.S. Department of Justice awarded the University’s Program Against Sexual Violence a grant of more than $380,000 Monday, the largest grant the program has ever received.
Jamie Tiedemann, director of the victim-advocacy program, said advocates will use part of the money to increase services for students with disabilities.
“We want to accomplish a major outreach for students with a disability who have experienced sexual violence,” Tiedemann said.
In order to better serve students with disabilities, the program plans to install a TeleTypewriter, or TTY, phone line for the hearing impaired and provide a sign-language interpreter.
The program will also use the grant to develop a legal-advocacy program for victims filing court orders against perpetrators.
“Over the last six months, we have seen an increase in the number of students, staff and faculty who need restraining orders,” Tiedemann said.
The Justice Department’s Violence Against Women Office gave grants to 20 of 125 universities and colleges that applied.
Laura Mansour, an office staff member, said she was impressed by the University’s focus on improving services for the disabled.
The grant requires the program to work with campus police on improving responses to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking. Tiedemann said the University has already established such a relationship with University Police.
“The grant will help provide expanded services to victim survivors and greatly enhance our prevention efforts on campus,” she said.
The additional funding will also enhance sexual-violence prevention programs for incoming freshmen.
Tiedemann said educational initiatives will also be aimed at faculty and staff members.
The Program Against Sexual Violence is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week crisis-response unit located at Boynton Health Service. The organization has served about 200 victims per year since it was founded in 1986.

Liz Bogut welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3225.