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Grant enables BenU to expand prevention of gender-based violence on campus

Over the last three years, Benedictine University has emerged as a leader in creating programs that seek to prevent sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Now, it has received a continuation grant from the U.S. Department of Justice that will allow it to expand its offerings even more, fostering an environment that not only promotes safety, but also respect and advocacy for members of its University community.

Benedictine initially received an Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice grant in 2016, "Enhancing Awareness and Streamlining Education of Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking." As a result of the grant, the university created a Coordinated Community Response Team, the PEACE team (Promoting Empowerment and Community Engagement). The PEACE team works to expand violence prevention programming and offer education on gender-based violence throughout the year. It also discusses how to improve campus response to gender-based violence and connection to victim services. It has built strong partnerships with the YWCA, the Lisle Police Department, Family Shelter Service of Metropolitan Family Services, and Arab American Family Services.

The continuation grant of $299,424 will allow Benedictine to continue the programs it has already begun and build on a solid foundation. Its new goals include:

• Developing programming and resources for stalking prevention and response

• Building a strong Prevention Peer Educator program and working closely with student leaders to teach bystander intervention

• Identifying ways to reach students with disabilities for programming and victim services

• Continuing to build educational activities for faculty and staff to learn their role in response to gender-based violence on campus

"Over the last three years, our community has come a long way in recognizing the importance of ongoing comprehensive violence prevention initiatives to address sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking," says Bernadette Muloski, LSW, Violence Against Women Act Grant Coordinator at BenU. "We are so excited and grateful for this incredible opportunity."

In accomplishing this work over the last two years, the University has recognized that violence prevention and having discussions with students about healthy relationships and respect for one another is essential to the University mission. It has been able to incorporate violence prevention in the new Center for Mission, Ministry, and Inclusion. Leaders on campus recognize that gender-based violence is a social justice issue, and it is important for the whole campus to be involved in order to create change.

This second grant will bring Benedictine's total Campus Violence Prevention Program funding to $595,098.

"We are deeply honored to receive this grant continuation," says Charles Gregory, President of Benedictine University. "I am very grateful for everything the PEACE Team and Prevention Peer Educators have accomplished so far. These efforts are in direct alignment with our mission and represent the best of Benedictine."

This project was supported by Grant No. 2016-WA-AX-0022 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice.


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