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Emily Pike, Director of the Office of Violence Prevention & Education, signs RIDGE Respect

The Office of Violence Prevention and Education (OVPE) serves to increase dialogue and engage all individuals in prevention, education, and intervention efforts surrounding domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking (DVDVSAS). The office strives to build a violence-free community, engage in trauma-informed practices, provide training and skill-building opportunities, and help to empower and support all survivors.

Emily Pike, Director of the OVPE, tells us 6 things you need to know about the OVPE and their mission:

1. The Coordinated Community Response Team was formed to support our efforts.

The Coordinated Community Response Team (or CCRT) consists of a diverse group of leaders and stakeholders, both on campus and in the surrounding community, who actively engage the NU community in prevention, responding, and advocating against DVDVSAS, all while promoting positive social change.

2. Niagara is committed to violence prevention efforts for ALL.

The office seeks to increase the accessibility of services for the campus community, and works to ensure that all voices are heard - including BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ individuals, students with exceptionalities, international students, and beyond - to advocate and educate for equity and inclusion amongst all populations representative of our Niagara University community.

3. Our office shares campus and community resources.

The OVPE provides resources for victims of DVDVSAS. Available resources include both campus and community services (i.e., counseling, victim advocacy, confidential resources, and support). This allows for a more intentional, collaborative approach, better tying the surrounding community with the responses and resources provided on campus.

4. Violence prevention and bystander intervention training is available.

The office provides training on an array of topics of violence, including DVDVSAS, and bystander intervention. These trainings serve as the foundations of the educational pillar of the OVPE, fostering skill-building opportunities, and proactive behaviors that support healthy and safe relationships. Prevention and education can help to decrease victim blaming, rape culture, and stereotypes that can be toxic.

5. This is what we mean when we advocate for RIDGE Respect.

The OVPE launched RIDGE Respect in late March 2022. This is a commitment to practice non-violence and to take a proactive approach to promote respect on campus. Respect: to foster a culture of respecting dignity of all persons. Intervention: to intervene and challenge violence in all its forms wherever it may be encountered. Diversity: to promote and embrace diversity on our campus and in our community. Growth: to continue to grow as an active bystander and embody the Vincentian Mission. Empowerment: to empower and stand with those impacted by violence.

6. Everyone can get involved.

All members of the campus community can get involved in violence prevention work. Stop by the OVPE (located in Lower Level Gallagher Center, next to Campus Activities) to learn about current efforts, attend university wide events, hold a fundraiser for community partners, and help spread the word through proactive behaviors that cultivate a violence-free and safe community.

Do you want to learn more about the Office of Violence Prevention and Education, and what you can do to join the university wide stand against violence? Follow @nu_ovpe on Instagram, or visit the OVPE website today.