Ohio Attorney General Announces Grant to Kent State’s Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services
On Dec. 29, the Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced an award of more than $1.2 million in grants to support and assist those impacted by sexual violence on college campuses in Ohio. Kent State University’s Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services received more than $90,000 to employ a university advocate to assist people impacted by sexual violence.
“This funding will allow us to support more students in getting the resources they need and deserve when impacted by sexual violence,” says Jennie O’Connell, director of Kent State’s Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services. “With the funding, our office will be able to hire a full-time direct services coordinator to provide advocacy services to students, as well as increase awareness about the Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services and the support provided there. Additionally, our office will work with Townhall II, the Portage County rape crisis center, in providing text-based support for students.”
COMPASS, the local crisis center in Tuscarawas County, also received a grant to help provide advocacy services to students at Kent State University at Tuscarawas.
Kent State has been at the forefront of addressing sexual violence within the university community, developing a team approach to ensure that anyone impacted by sexual violence is supported. Today, the Coordinated Community Response Team focuses on prevention, awareness and response to sexual violence at Kent State. The prevention efforts center on the Green Dot bystander movement, while continuing to look at strategic ways of reaching more people to increase awareness. In 2013, the Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services was established to provide support advocacy, prevention and awareness to the university community. This grant will allow the office to grow its advocacy and support services to best meet the needs of the university.
“As awareness increases in the university community, more students find their way through faculty or staff referrals, a friend or marketing efforts to our office for support,” O’Connell says. “However, there are still members of the community who are unaware of the services provided by the Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services; therefore, continuing to provide the community with information is always beneficial.”
The Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services supports anyone associated with the university by advocating for academic, housing or work accommodation; making referrals to ongoing mental health resources; assisting with filing formal complaints both within the university and through law enforcement; and being there through the investigation and hearing process. The office sees people of all genders and regardless of where or when the incident occurred.
The Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services is located at the Kent Campus, but provides university advocacy to all Kent State students regardless of campus. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.–5 p.m.