“Sexual assault is an intolerable and serious crime,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Combating sexual violence is a major priority for UC San Diego. Through the work of the Sexual Assault and Violence Prevention Resource Center, the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination and others, our campus will continue to work diligently to help ensure a positive and safe environment at UC San Diego.”
UC San Diego Plays Key Role in UC Task Force
In June, University of California President Janet Napolitano announced the formation of a system-wide task force to oversee the university’s wide-ranging efforts aimed at preventing sexual violence on UC campuses.
UC San Diego, with its well-established history fighting sexual assault through SARC, has been an active member on the task force. Representatives from various units across campus have been instrumental in the work of the task force, which is aimed at ensuring UC is the national leader in combating sexual violence and sexual assault.
The task force released an initial report in September that listed seven key recommendations to prevent sexual violence. Among the recommendations is the establishment of confidential advocacy centers, similar to SARC, on each UC campus. Other recommendations for all campuses included establishing response teams, which UC San Diego has in place; creating system-wide standards for investigation and adjudication; and writing a comprehensive training and education plan by fall 2015.
A second report, Phase II, will further define details on implementation.
To help raise awareness, SARC has successfully introduced proactive preventative campaigns including, the “Every Little BIT (Bystander Intervention Training) Counts…It Starts With You” campaign. It is an ongoing positive, inclusive and empowering program that encourages and teaches students how to safely be a responsive bystander. Bystander intervention is when one person chooses to speak up, step in or engage others to help when witnessing potentially dangerous situations. In addition to teaching the BIT model, SARC conducts workshops on defining consent, reporting options as well as on how survivors of sexual assault can access on and off-campus resources.
According to SARC Director Nancy Wahlig, the award from the Department of Justice – which will provide funding over the next three years – will allow the center to continue to build upon those proactive campaigns. She credited SARC’s ability to win the grant to the center’s collaborative efforts working with partners on campus and in the community. In 1999, the center established the Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT), which is made up of representatives from various units at UC San Diego as well as staff from the Center for Community Solution’s Rape Crisis and Domestic Violence Center, and the San Diego District Attorney Office. The CCRT works to improve campus response to sexual violence, which includes reviewing campus policies, protocols, and procedures, as well as developing education and prevention programs.
“We are extremely thankful for the support from the Department of Justice which will help us in our efforts to put an end to sexual violence,” said Wahlig. “This funding will allow SARC to strengthen coordination of campus departments and community agencies, and it will help the center enhance educational outreach efforts to all students.”
During the past 15 years, SARC has been awarded over $1.3 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Education and private donations. The center has demonstrated strength in providing comprehensive services for victims and survivors of sexual assault, dating/domestic violence and stalking. In addition, the center coordinates education and prevention efforts on campus to help prevent sexual assaults.
Learning about sexual assault and how to report it is now mandatory for all incoming UC San Diego freshmen and new transfer students, and it is incorporated into their orientations. With the support of the Department of Justice grant, SARC will be able to build on its targeted outreach efforts to a diverse student body including LGBT, veterans, international transfers and graduate students. The educational materials provided to students cover topics such as:
- Definitions of sexual assault, dating violence/domestic violence, stalking
- Reporting options (administrative, criminal and civil)
- Bystander intervention and risk reduction strategies
- Healthy relationships signs and red flag warnings
- Information on available resources and services that SARC provides, including after-hours crisis care, advocacy, accompaniment, confidential counseling.
UC San Diego’s Sexual Assault and Violence Prevention Resource Center is available 24/7 for students and their friends. Students can reach SARC after hours and on weekends through the UC San Diego Police non-emergency number 858-534-HELP (4357).
For more information, visit the SARC website.