The Center for Application of Substance Abuse Technologies (CASAT) at the University of Nevada, Reno was recently awarded a $300,000 grant from the Office on Violence Against Women to help reduce sexual assault and domestic violence.
“For the past few years there has been a lot of growth and momentum surrounding sexual assault programs and bystander intervention education on campus,” said Justine Hernandez, project coordinator for CASAT. “Much of the work completed by University Student Conduct, The Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX and the Student Health Center, demonstrated how committed the University is to these issues which earned us this grant.”
The money from the grant will go towards creating sustainable programs at the university that focus on combating interpersonal violence .
“Conversations around how to prevent sexual assault and domestic violence need to be ongoing, not just something that takes place once or twice a year,” Hernandez said. “We want to display how much the University cares about this topic and put a spotlight on it.”
The grant will also allow trauma training for employees and will be open to all university staff. Trauma-informed care trains people to better understand the behaviors that a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence will portray.
“People who are trauma informed make the victim feel really safe,” Hernandez said. “This is an evidence-based practice that provides a clear understanding for why a victim might exhibit certain behavior. The training allows anyone interacting with a victim to better understand, recognize and respond to someone working through trauma.”
Another piece of the grant is to research and implement a sustainable bystander intervention program, training students on how to safely intervene and stop violence from occurring in the first place.
In addition to the grant money, The Office on Violence Against Women further supports these initiatives through a technical training institute. Seven UNR representatives and one Reno Police Department member will attend the training to discuss three different tracks: prevention, student conduct/judicial and law enforcement.