Continuation grant awarded to University of Lynchburg’s program to combat violence against women


LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) – A continuation grant has been awarded to the University of Lynchburg by the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women.

The grant totals $299,816 over three years for the university’s Office on Violence Against Women Campus Program.

A major component of the campus program is the creation and facilitation of prevention of education programs for students as well as training for employees of the university.

One initiative launched since the initial grant was received back in 2018 was Wings Up, a sexual assault, dating and domestic violence and stalking awareness and prevention program for first-year and transfer students.

So far, the program has been administered to 925 students via Student Orientation and Registration (SOAR).

StepUp!, a bystander intervention program that builds on skills learned from Wings Up, was also developed where approximately 150 students – including student groups and athletic teams, have attended StepUp! training.

Along with the initial grant, the university also created the Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT) and is compromised by representatives from 12 departments at the university as well as the Lynchburg Police Department, the Lynchburg Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney Victim/Witness Program and the YWCA’s Sexual Assault Response Program.

The CCRT is in the process of forming a staff victim advocate program that will provide supportive victim services and link victims with community partners for further services, investigation, and legal guidance when needed.

The victim advocates are currently engaged in training.

Plus, the grant allowed funding for a full-time coordinator who works with the CCRT, the Campus Victim Services Group, students, and community partners on initiatives that promote a safe campus culture.

The next grant cycle also includes a new external partner: the Community Access Network. The nonprofit health care clinic has already partnered with the university’s PA Medicine program as part of the Lynchburg Tomorrow initiative.

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