SAPAC restructures for better service
In a move designed to improve services to the victims of sexual violence, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) will shift its counseling function this summer to the office of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
SAPAC Director Kelly Cichy says the change will allow the program to focus more on education, advocacy and crisis intervention, while using CAPS and other local resources more appropriately.
"This coordinated response will provide an integrated web of support for students and expand access to services across the campus and community," Cichy says.
In the past, SAPAC has offered both crisis intervention and ongoing counseling to students, in addition to a full range of educational and training programs, Cichy says.
"SAPAC will continue to be the prime contact for victims of sexual assault, harassment, stalking or domestic violence, but will be referring them to CAPS for counseling," she says. "Faculty and staff who encounter students in need of sexual violence-related services should continue to refer students to SAPAC."
In addition to the counseling change, SAPAC also will collaborate with SAFE House to provide crisis phone and outreach services to students. SAFE House is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault in Washtenaw County.
Among other services, SAFE House offers a crisis phone line, with trained staff and volunteers who can begin to assist students immediately. The current SAPAC crisis line has a slower response time. When a call comes into a SAPAC answering service, a student volunteer is paged, resulting in a three to five minute delay before the caller speaks with the volunteer.
Another advantage of the SAFE House line is its special phone service that provides translation in 150 languages.
When the changes are implemented later in the summer, students who call the current SAPAC crisis line, (734) 936-3333, or the SAFE House number, (734) 995-5444, will reach a trained SAFE House staff member or volunteer.
University students who desire crisis intervention experience will be encouraged to join the many other students who volunteer at Safe House in any of their several programs, Cichy says.
Counselors employed by SAPAC will be shifted to CAPS, says Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper. The full-time staff member who runs the crisis line will coordinate services to students, including more advocacy and all crisis follow-ups. Remaining SAPAC staff and volunteers will devote more of their time to education and prevention programs.
"In the summer, President Mary Sue Coleman asked us to develop a plan for considerably expanding SAPAC's educational outreach programs," Harper said in a note to students. "All of these changes will result in the expansion of U-M staff resources in SAPAC and in CAPS to work with student survivors of sexual violence.
"The changes are part of our larger effort to make sure our student support and mental health services are integrated with other community resources, and that the experience for students is as seamless as possible."
For more information on SAPAC services, visit http://www.umich.edu/~sapac/.