Kate Walsh, Professor of GWS and Psychology, and head of the of the Sexual Violence Research Initiative, has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crimes, to expand sexual assault services on the UW-Madison campus.
This project’s goal is to “bring together campus and community sexual assault resources that are currently a bit siloed and lay the groundwork for a survivor-centered, trauma-informed coordinated Sexual Assault Response Team (SART).”
Professor Walsh and her team plan to hire and train an Advocate Coordinator to conduct additional advocacy work at University Health Services and serve as a liaison to campus as community resources and providers, including the Meriter Forensic Nurse Examiner program and the Rape Crisis Center. They also plan to work with students on evaluation of resources, via surveys and focus groups. This will allow for deeper understanding of the “gaps in knowledge about and utilization of services as well as areas for service improvement, particularly for students who are disproportionately impacted by sexual assault (e.g., women, transgender, genderqueer, and gender expansive students, LGB students, and students with disabilities).”
Moreover, Walsh’s team will use these findings to “create messaging and programming to improve awareness of services, dismantle myths about eligibility for services and improve inclusivity and accessibility of services for all students.” This initiative aims to significantly increase access to resources and improve support for students who have experienced sexual assault, which in turn can affect the UW-Madison culture around sexual assault.
Congratulations, Professor Walsh! More information about the award can be found on the Office for Victims of Crime Awards press release.