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Week of January 11, 2010

SAPAC toolkit in national spotlight

The Sexual Assault Prevention & Awareness Center’s toolkit addressing sexual assault and domestic violence is featured on the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s Web site >

 

“Striving for Justice: A Toolkit for Judicial Resolution Officers on College Campuses” currently is featured on the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s Web site. NSVRC highlights the toolkit as a case model for campus prevention providers as part of its Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The 96-page toolkit, which combines messages of awareness with prevention information, is designed for “individuals working in student conflict resolution on campus to help increase their understanding and familiarity with the issues of sexual assault and intimate partner violence,” according to the NSVRC Web site, www.nsvrc.org/saam/level-three-campus.

“It is a wonderful thing to have the toolkit highlighted on a national level,” says Anne Handeyside, co-project director and crisis intervention specialist, SAPAC. “Not only does it bring attention to the collaborative work we are doing at the University of Michigan, but it also emphasizes the need for a coordinated community response to dating, domestic and sexual violence on campus. Since these issues affect the entire campus community, we all need to work together to create a culture that promotes safety and accountability.”

The toolkit was created in 2008 by Handeyside, her coworker Samara Hough and Jennifer Adams of the SafeHouse Center, after working with SAPAC, SafeHouse Center and the Office of Student Conflict Resolution. Using funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women, they collected information from various sources and universities. Their mutual goals were to “create a safe campus climate and determine ways of creating the most effective processes possible,” Handeyside says.

This collaboration led to an impressive resource, says E. Royster Harper, vice president for student affairs.

“It’s an honor for SAPAC and its toolkit to be recognized on such a prominent level,” Harper says. “The outcome of their work will serve as a valuable training guide on our campus, especially for students, faculty and staff members, and law enforcement, and now will be available for other organizations to use in their work in this important area.”

NSVRC will keep SAPAC’s toolkit as a permanent part of its Web site, says Lauren Sogor, prevention campaign specialist at NSVRC. The national organization serves a wide audience, including anti-sexual violence advocates at the local, state and national levels, public health professionals, educators, healthcare providers, law enforcement, criminal justice and the general public. A large number of its resources are written for local victim advocates to assist them in strengthening and sustaining their services, Sogor says.

The toolkit is presented in two sections. The first part addresses sexual assault, with topics including understanding the survivor, understanding the perpetrator and recidivism. The second portion, on dating and domestic violence, offers definitions and explores topics such as violence on college campuses and sanctions.

The resource originally was designed for student arbiters and staff at the Office of Student Conflict Resolution; however, it can be used for anyone who encounters survivors of dating, domestic and sexual violence in their daily lives, Handeyside says. “This could mean housing staff, law enforcement, medical personnel, faculty and many others. We have been asked to provide trainings on this resource for housing security officers, the Department of Public Safety, residence hall directors and others.”

This was not the toolkit’s first brush with a broader audience. Handeyside says she discussed the resource at two national conferences: the Big 10 Law Enforcement Directors Conference in December 2008 in Iowa and the Association for Student Judicial Affairs Conference in February 2009 in Florida.

The toolkit benefits the U-M community in multiple ways, Handeyside says.

“It has highlighted the importance of partnering together to address dating, domestic, and sexual violence on campus,” she says. “Also, it has served as a vital training resource for OSCR student arbiters.

“Each fall, SAPAC conducts a comprehensive training for the students who will potentially be involved in hearing domestic and sexual violence-related cases. This resource arms them with evidence-based guidelines and recommendations for working with survivors and perpetrators. Finally, it is a tangible resource that students, faculty and staff can turn to for information on these issues.”

To obtain a free copy of the toolkit, contact Anne Handeyside at annekh@umich.edu or 734-998-9368.

 

SPOTLIGHT

Anna Ercoli Schnitzer, on her greatest passion: “Working to improve the physical and virtual accessibility to all of our community, regardless of individual physical or mental challenges.”

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