The History of Project EMBRACE and the OVW Grant
The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) campus grant program is a federally funded grant awarded to higher education institutions to support efforts to reduce sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, and stalking (SADVDVS) on college campuses. The funds are used to support a Project Director to coordinate all grant activities related to the prevention of and response to SADVDVS. Through a victim-centered, trauma-informed lens, these activities are carried out with the goals to reduce the rate of violence on campus.
The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University were awarded a three-year OVW grant in October 2019 that ran through October 1, 2022. The grant funds were used to enhance and develop prevention and response programs in the areas of SADVDVS. In March 2022, CSB and SJU submitted a renewal grant request to OVW for a three-year continuation grant and an extension of the current three-year grant through December 2022. The extension was granted to CSB and SJU to continue the work through December 2022. The renewal grant request was denied by OVW. Funding was secured to continue the Prevention Project Coordinator position through May 2023. A Prevention Sustainability Plan was completed to continue the work of the grant at CSB and SJU using existing resources. For more information on prevention activities, contact the Title IX office at 320-363-5943.
The OVW campus grant funds were also used to develop an on-going multi-disciplinary coordinated community response team (CCRT) during the first year of the grant. The team is made up of key stakeholders from across the CSB/SJU campuses and the greater community committed to creating campus culture that is dedicated to the prevention of and response to SADVDVS through education, safety, and prevention efforts. There are also representatives with expertise in the Clery Act requirements who work with the campus to disseminate the Annual Security Report with CSB Campus Security and SJU Life Safety taking the lead on this report.
The CCRT will continue to play an important role at CSB and SJU as the group oversees and ensures implementation of all prevention and intervention efforts, facilitates communication between key campus departments and community partners, sees that messages across campus are reliable and reinforced and that the system’s response to victims is seamless, consistent, and supportive.[i]
The CCRT values a campus and community response that embraces the following areas:
- Coordination and accountability that encompasses working across campuses and communities to ensure trauma informed responses that are survivor centered.
- Courageous work rooted in integrity and dedicated to the empowerment of each other to achieve progress toward the mission through fostering dialogue that values evidence-based practice, practice-based research, and self-care.
- Diversity of membership that includes culturally relevant analysis, inclusion of underserved populations, and is representative of the voices of those impacted by interpersonal violence.
Currently, the CSB and SJU CCRT is comprised of a multi-disciplinary team of staff and faculty from both campuses. The CCRT will report their goals and accomplishments to the Campus Well-being Committee for oversight and feedback.
The CCRT will continue to set yearly goals for CSB and SJU regarding SADVDVS with a particular emphases in the following four areas:
- Comprehensive Prevention
- Overall goal is to create a widespread culture of prevention through enhancement and development of awareness, education, policy, and community engagement.
- Law Enforcement/Campus Security
- Overall goal is to enhance response through a trauma-informed, victim-centered approach as well as engage in relationship building with the campus community.
- Student Conduct
- Overall goal is to enhance the current student conduct process to include additional training for panel members and ensuring victims are receiving support and resources available to them.
- Victim Services
- Overall goal is to provide easier access to victim services for our campus community through community victim service partnerships.
Project EMBRACE (Empowerment, Belief, Respect, Advocacy, Care, Equity) was the name given to the OVW grant to create awareness of the grant efforts as well as provide support and information to our campus communities. Project EMBRACE will continue to be the name for the work going forward to bring a sense of continuity and presence to this important work.
[i] Assessing the Effectiveness of Campus-Based Coordinated Community Response Teams (CCRTs), A Toolkit for OVW Grantees. Campus Technical Assistance and Resource Project. Fall 2020