Wake-Up Call: DOJ Grants Address Campus Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Stalking

The wake-up call is ringing throughout higher education and particularly loud and clear at the University of Hawaii, where educators are digesting the results of a survey that delved into sexual harassment and gender-based violence both on and off campus.

The survey, which comes at a time of heightening awareness across the nation, found that 22 percent of the female students at the University of Hawaii have experienced dating or domestic violence, and about 12 percent have been sexually harassed or stalked during their time at the school. Another 8.5 percent of the female students said they'd experienced nonconsensual sexual contact. 

Of immediate concern to university leaders is that only 27 percent of the students questioned, knew how to report an incident if they became a victim.

Increased awareness will help. So, too, would money. The survey, one of the first known nationally of college students to explore intimate partner violence, cost about $175,000 to conduct.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com, said the Office of Violence against Women in the Department of Justice sponsors grants to support efforts to create or revitalize campus responses to sexual misconduct. On GrantWatch you can find these grants and many others, when available under the grants for higher education category.

DOJ recently awarded a $300,000 grant to Sacred Heart University. The grant couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. In 2016, four rapes were reported on campus according to the Annual Campus Crime & Fire Safety Report issued to the federal government. Sacred Heart will use the grant money to enhance victim services, implement prevention and education programs and develop and strengthen campus security and investigation strategies.

James Mohr, the vice chancellor of student affairs at Washington State University, said the Spokane campus will apply the $300,000 DOJ grant to reach out to students to let them know there are programs to assist them. The money marks the third successful grant awarded to Washington State to enhance programs for victims of domestic or dating violence or stalking.

Meanwhile, the University of Hawaii system waits for the results of a 2014 audit by the Civil Rights Office in the U.S. Department of Education, which is looking into Title IX compliance. The federal law prohibits sex discrimination in education.


About the Author: Staff Writer for GrantWatch.com