SOUTH HOLLAND, IL – South Suburban College (SSC) has partnered with the U.S. Department of Justice to implement the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) grant. The ultimate objective of this initiative is to increase awareness and create effective responses to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking through various programs and training opportunities. This comprehensive approach includes both prevention and intervention, requiring a coordinated effort that engages SSC students, faculty, staff, administrators and key stakeholders from the surrounding community.
“According to a recent poll, nearly half (43%) of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors,” said Alexandra Glumac, MS, LCPC, RDDP, SHRM-CP, OVW Program Director. “College students are not equipped to deal with dating abuse – 57% say it is difficult to identify and 58% say they don’t know how to help someone experiencing it. These are crucial numbers and a testament to why we need the OVW grant at the college.”
As a part of this grant, the college will review policies and procedures related to domestic/dating violence, sexual assault and stalking to ensure best practices. SSC’s law enforcement personnel will also attend training to ensure proper policies, procedures and legislation are in place. A dynamic Coordinated Community Response Team has also been tasked to ensure the comprehensive strategic plan objectives and goals of this grant are met. This group consists of various college administrators, faculty and staff as well as local social service agencies. External partnerships with YWCA Metropolitan Chicago and Anew: Building Beyond Violence and Abuse have also been established to ensure seamless access to external services available in the community.
Glumac added, “The kick off of our activities will begin in late March which coincides well with Women’s History Month. We will offer bystander intervention training to all students, faculty and staff. Participants will learn to engage in proactive behaviors that model and endorse norms that are incompatible with violence. The ultimate goal is not simply to react to potential violence as it is occurring, but rather to simultaneously shift community norms that support violence. We are really excited to bring this type of training to the college as it can make a difference with regard to someone’s safety and well-being.”
Dozens of other activities and events will be held throughout the year to galvanize the college community and spread the word about safety. This includes involvement in April’s National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and October’s National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. For more information about this initiative, contact Alexandra Glumac, OVW Program Director, at email@example.com.