Niagara University’s Office of Violence Prevention and Education was established in March 2022 with a three-year, $300,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). Since then, it has distinguished itself both on campus and in the larger community for its effective violence prevention programs and has been noticed by national organizations that are involved in the OVW’s efforts. Recently, program director Emily Pike was invited to share her experiences and best practices as a member of an advisory council for Alteristic, an OVW technical assistance provider.
Pike, along with 10 of her colleagues, will provide critical guidance for Alteristic as it builds and enhances resources to assist first-cycle and continuation grantees in successfully implementing their own OVW grant-funded projects that respond to and address sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking (DVDVSAS).
“This opportunity allows Niagara University to be a part of the larger national conversation on sexual violence prevention efforts in higher education,” Pike said. “Over the past two years, the Office of Violence Prevention & Education has made an incredibly positive impact both on our campus and in our local community. I look forward to working with my colleagues across the country to continue this work and enhance prevention programming for all OVW grantees.”
The OVPE, which is part of the university’s Student Affairs sector, focuses on awareness and prevention of gender-based violence. Programming includes two signature annual events: “Take Back the Night” which aims to end sexual, relationship, and domestic violence in all forms through rallies and marches; and “Living in Light: The Art of Healing,” an exhibit of artwork reflecting the journeys, experiences, hopes, and dreams of the survivors of domestic violence who created them. “Living in Light” is presented in connection with the Red Flag Campaign, a national public awareness initiative designed to encourage college students to intervene when they see a warning sign (“red flag”) of partner violence, and the Clothesline Project, a display of T-shirts made by survivors and those who have lost a loved one to violence.
It also offers training in programs such as Green Dot Bystander Intervention, sponsors on-campus speakers and panels, and partners with local criminal justice and victim service agencies, including the YWCA of the Niagara Frontier, the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara, Pinnacle Community Services, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office Victim Assistance Unit, the Seven Dancers Coalition, and the New York State Police.