Project Spotlight: Creating Supports for Survivors of Gender-Based Violence


Project Spotlight: Creating Supports for Survivors of Gender-Based Violence

Posted on June 6, 2018

4 comments 14628 Views

by Madison Scott

VOCA Campus Outreach and Advocacy Program is a two-year grant working to increase Western’s ability to provide support for survivors of gender-based violence. The grant will continue through September of 2020 and will be housed in TRI’s Center on Student and Community Services. I sat down with Aislinn Addington, Ph.D., to learn what we can expect as this program gets going.

VOCA will allow for several great supports for survivors of gender-based violence. The first of these supports is that around July 1, Abby’s House is planning on bringing in a second professional staff member. This will allow Abby’s House to expand its capacity for confidential advocacy, bring in another perspective, and allow for student volunteers to gain experience with a second professional in the field. Additionally, this staff member will be bilingual, which will allow Abby’s House to extend its services to a wider audience. The new professional staff member will focus on direct service and outreach, but will also help co-manage the Abby’s House team of student volunteers. By bringing this new staff member in over the summer, Addington will have time to work with them to craft how the program will look come fall term.

Once fall term rolls around, we can expect to see some new services offered at the Student Health and Counseling Center, thanks to this program. Part of the grant includes purchasing specialized equipment for the staff at the Health and Counseling Center to be able to conduct forensic exams. Previously, Addington had stated that the training to conduct these exams was already underway, so bringing the required equipment on campus is a great step toward getting these services ready for the 2018–2019 school year.

In addition to the equipment, Addington said this grant has “also provided money for, basically, a license to be able to take the 40-hour advocate training for the counseling staff.” She also noted, “The counseling staff is interested in [the training] but none of them are trained in that way.” This training will give the counseling staff the specific knowledge and skills they need to act as an advocate, if needed. This will also be fully implemented come fall term, as final details are currently still being worked out.

Although this grant is only just getting rolling, Addington is already looking toward the future. There’s the possibility of a renewal to the grant, but nothing is for certain. Whether or not they receive the renewal, she said, “I am determined …  that two years will demonstrate the necessity of this position so that, in the case of not having a grant, the university sees the value of it and will take that on.”


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Human Rights Watch interviewed 13 survivors of gender-primarily based totally violence, 4 mothers and father and a relative of women who skilled such violence, a network activist who's being concerned for 3 women who're survivors, a refuge worker, 5 representatives of nongovernmental companies operating on gender-primarily based totally violence, a Kenyan professional on gender-primarily based totally violence, and officers from POLICAR, the police software to reply to such violence, and the State Department for Gender Affairs. Human Rights Watch additionally reviewed reviews from the government, non-governmental groups, the United Nations, and the media.

According to the Unicef: https://www.unicef.org/protection/gender-based-violence-in-emergencies
"Approximately one in three women and girls worldwide will experience physical or sexual violence in her lifetime."

Violence in opposition to girls is a common, complicated and consequential public fitness epidemic. It is an ordinary problem happening in each way of life and social group. One in every 3 girls has been beaten, coerced into sex, or in any other case abused in her lifetime. Violence in opposition to girls has been called “the maximum pervasive but least diagnosed human rights abuse withinside the world.”
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