Niagara University has received a $300,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) to strengthen its ongoing efforts to educate about and respond to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking on campus.
Through the three-year Grant to Reduce Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking (DVDVSAS) on Campus, Niagara University will coordinate campus prevention and responses to DVDVSAS, with emphasis on strengthening and expanding its efforts beyond the mandated requirements of New York state’s “Enough is Enough” legislation.
Dr. Dana Radatz, assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice, and Dr. Jennifer Beebe, associate professor of counseling/education, will oversee Niagara’s OVW campus program, which will elevate, expand, and institutionalize the work that Radatz and Beebe have been doing in recent years to advance universitywide education and awareness of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking programming. It will also leverage the university’s existing partnerships with local criminal justice and victim service agencies, including the YWCA of the Niagara Frontier, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, and the New York State Police.
“This award not only allows Dr. Beebe and I to advance the efforts we have made to date regarding violence prevention and education, but also provides us with a new opportunity to amplify a holistic approach that includes students, faculty, staff, and the broader community,” said Radatz.
“The OVW grant will provide Niagara University and our community partners with the opportunity to continue to create an environment that promotes and supports prevention and education efforts related to sexual assault and relationship violence,” Beebe added. “We hope to continue the Vincentian tradition and train students to become future leaders who will advocate for marginalized populations.”
Through the grant, a full-time project director will be hired to oversee training and educational campaigns for the campus community. Niagara’s OVW Campus Program will include the establishment of a coordinated community response team, which will assist and support the project director in informing, assessing, designing, and implementing Niagara’s prevention, education, and responses to DVDVSAS.
“The Catholic and Vincentian mission of Niagara University calls on us to be the light for those who need our help,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University. “We are committed to fostering an educational environment that focuses on the dignity of every human being who comes on our campus, and this grant will enable us to strengthen the critical work that we are doing to enhance prevention of, awareness of, and response to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking on campus.”
The OVW grants are awarded to help institutions of higher education implement comprehensive, coordinated responses to violent crimes on campus through partnerships with victim services providers and justice agencies.