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Training, education aim to prevent domestic violence

By Sarah Foulkes, HWS intern
 
 
PULLMAN, Wash. – Stalking and domestic and sexual violence in the Washington State University community will be addressed by Health and Wellness Services (HWS) thanks to a three-year, $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
 
“We are one of only 26 projects selected for funding this year out of 130 applications,” said Paula M. Adams, HWS health promotion coordinator and project director for the grant.
 
The grant will support adoption of a comprehensive, coordinated response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. WSU and community partners will collaborate to adopt protocols and policies that treat these behaviors as serious offenses. The partners will implement programs to ensure victim safety, offender accountability and prevention of these crimes.
 
“Our commitment to collaborative work clearly showed in our application and supported our selection as a grantee institution,” Adams said.
 
Grant funded activities will include a review of campus policies, education of incoming students, training for police and training for WSU Student Conduct Board members. Project partners will learn best practices in policy and services and develop working plans for implementation at WSU.
 
Nikki Finnestead is the new violence prevention coordinator funded by the grant. She also will assume leadership of Green Dot, a violence prevention program that empowers bystanders to become active members in reducing sexual assault, partner violence and stalking.
 
Finnestead’s previous work as coordinator of sexual assault service for Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse, a nonprofit dedicated to serving victims and survivors of sexual violence, gives her a unique perspective on the “victim-centered” approach required by the grant, she said.
 
“I look forward to collaborating with the groups and individuals already working to reduce violence on campus,” she said. “I am hopeful that we can foster an environment where victims understand their options and feel supported in their decision-making – and where perpetrators are held accountable.”
 
Related website: WSU Counseling Services at http://www.counsel.wsu.edu/assault

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