U.S. Senator Bob Casey has announced that $274,886 in federal funding has been awarded to Indiana University of Pennsylvania by the Department of Justice. This grant is for programs that reduce violent crimes against women.

“With this funding, IUP will have more resources to fight violence against women,” Casey said. “This grant will go towards prevention and education programs for students and more training for campus police, so IUP can more effectively combat these crimes.”

The grant is provided through the Reduce Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking on Campus Program, part of the Violence Against Women Act. It will enhance a prevention and education program for all incoming students, fund on-campus advocacy organizations, train campus police to respond effectively, and train campus disciplinary boards to prosecute offenders fully.

The funding will continue and expand the university's Haven Project through 2011, according to Malinda Cowles, director of Haven. Cowles is associate director of Health AWAREness (Advocates for Well-Being and Respect for Everyone) and interim executive director of the Center for Health and Well-Being.

The Haven Project, funded from 2004 to 2008 with $400,000 from the Department of Justice, is a comprehensive program designed to address the needs of women who are victims of violence and to improve efforts to prevent violence against women.

The Haven Project is a partnership of the Center for Health and Well-Being, the University Police, Indiana Borough Police, Pennsylvania State Police, and the Alice Paul House, a local sexual assault and domestic violence center.

The 2009 funding will be used to improve services for female students who are victims of violence by expanding on-campus counseling services. In addition, the project will expand victim-intervention services and advocacy through the Alice Paul House. The project works to improve campus criminal investigation and adjudication processes.

“This federal award speaks to the significant priority that our university places on prevention and services relating to combating violence toward women and sexual harassment on and off campus,” Dr. Tony Atwater, IUP president, said.

“This award will strengthen the university's programmatic efforts to enhance awareness of violence against women and will assist the university in reducing the incidents of violence against women in our university community. Malinda Cowles is to be commended for her leadership on this front and for helping the university to achieve success in competing for this grant award.”

Cowles said that this funding will facilitate the Haven Project's expanded collaboration with police agencies from Indiana Borough to state and university police. Advanced training for investigators will also be part of the project.

“It is very gratifying to receive continued funding for this important project,” Cowles said. “It is an innovative program in that it offers several different agencies the opportunity to work together to serve persons on our campus who are survivors of violence.

“We remain in partnership with Alice Paul House to offer advocacy services, have counseling service at the IUP Counseling Center, and offer education programs. Every incoming freshman student participates in a Haven Project workshop about sexual violence.”

Since 1988, the Alice Paul House has provided training to the IUP community to assist victims of assault. The Center for Health and Well-Being and the Alice Paul House co-facilitate the Sexual Assault Domestic Violence Task Force in Indiana County. Both groups also provide professional training to law enforcement officers, the community, and IUP employees.