Program offers safety and privacy for victims

by Sarah Brownson

Protecting personal safety and privacy are two concerns facing incoming college freshmen. The University’s Program Against Sexual Violence works to protect all student victims from losing their rights after a traumatic experience.
Operating under the University’s Department of Student Development, PASV is a free service to University students who have been victims of incidents including rape, unwanted touching, harassment and domestic violence. Students concerned about others or who want to educate themselves about this issue are also welcome.
The program works closely with the University Police, Fairview-University Medical Center and residence halls. If necessary, they can provide academic intervention, such as talking to instructors about possible extensions for assignments or getting reimbursements for tuition and residence halls.
Advocates from the program offer support to victims by accompanying them to the emergency room or court appearances. They also provide on-site assistance to help write restraining orders and to inform victims of their rights.
A library of books and journals dedicated to sexual violence can be checked out for two-week periods at the program’s offices on the fourth floor of Boynton Heath Service. The program also offers videos, handouts and statistics.
A staff of four full-time workers and 30 volunteer advocates provides counseling, crisis intervention, information and referral services on a walk-in basis or through a crisis line monitored 24 hours a day.
Student volunteers go through more than 40 hours of training provided through PASV to become advocates.
All information is kept confidential unless written consent is given, with the exception of laws that require reporting for incidents involving children or vulnerable adults.
Volunteers lead peer-education presentations to educate students about sexual violence.
The program also sponsors numerous events in October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month and April for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
As of February 2000, PASV has started a support group that meets twice a month for victims and survivors of sexual assault. Anyone who wants to join can contact the program at 626-2929 for more information.