The Center on Domestic Violence in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver is launching a new partnership with Metropolitan State College and the Community College of Denver to develop a program for prevention of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking on the Downtown and Auraria campus.

The three-year project is being funded under a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. Funds also will be used to help law enforcement officials apprehend and prosecute offenders. While available data do not suggest that there is an acute problem on the campus, few services exist for training the staff and none exist on campus for providing services to victims. Auraria is the largest campus in the state with more than 43,000 students.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us,” said Barbara Paradiso, executive director of the Center. “One of the big challenges at Auraria is the structure. With three institutions that have separate administrations sharing facilities, it can lead to a lack of coordination in policies on intimate partner violence and problems with delivering an effective response when an incident occurs.”

At a screening event on campus last year, 10 percent of the 900 participants reported having been “hit, kicked or punched” in their current or most recent relationship and 5 percent said they had experienced sexual violence.

The Center plans to create a campus-wide education program, training for campus staff members and victim services programs designed to meet the unique needs of students.

The Center, which is the only program of its kind in the country, offers graduate degree programs specializing in domestic violence issues for students in criminal justice, health care and public administration. It is developing curricula on domestic violence education for all university professional schools whose graduates may encounter battered women in their jobs. It recently was honored with the 2008 Celebrating Solutions Award from the Mary Byron Foundation. The award features a $10,000 gift, which will be used to support Center operations.

The grant was awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women at the U.S. Department of Justice.

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