Established in July 2013, Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services (SRVSS) serves as an advocacy resource for students who experienced sexual or relationship violence and the primary education resource for the university. As part of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the SRVSS is open at any member of the Kent State community.
When founded it was an office within the Kent State University Women’s Center with one fulltime staff member who did support advocacy, prevention education and office management. During SRVSS first year, 24 students were supported through advocacy.
When established SRVSS was charged with implementing a bystander movement for the Kent State community. Through research, Green Dot was chosen. Green Dot is a national program that originated at the University of Kentucky as a primary prevention strategy. SRVSS collaborated with Residence Services and Health Promotion to launch Green Dot in fall 2014.
Also, beginning in fall 2014, SRVSS added a graduate assistant who helped with prevention education to the Kent campus. Then in spring 2015, the GA position shifted to a fulltime program coordinator who provided shared programming with the Women’s Center. Through this 20-hour position, SRVSS increased its education to students from less than 20 workshops during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 academic years to 51 in the 2015-2016 academic year.
In summer 2015, 30 faculty and staff from across several campuses attended a 4-day training to be certified as Green Dot educators. This team worked with SRVSS to begin institutionalizing Green Dot not only on the Kent Campus but also on several regional campuses. With a team of educators, engagement with Green Dot exploded. In academic year 16-17, 43 workshops were held just for Green Dot.
SRVSS received in January 2016 a Victims of Crime Act grant to provide a fulltime support services advocate for students. The advocate provided support to 71 students during the first year. With this additional staff person, SRVSS was able to focus more on big picture development and continue to grow as a department.
In summer 2016, SRVSS along with the Women’s Center relocated into the Williamson House. This move allowed SRVSS to pull out of the Women’s Center and be its own department. This move was important in reducing barriers for non-female identifying individuals to feel safe and comfortable in seeking support. In spring 2017, SRVSS added back a graduate assistant through funding from VOCA but at the same time lost the split position with the Women’s Center. The GA focuses on awareness education for the Kent Campus. In summer 2017, as part of the Violence against Women’s Act Campus Programs grant, SRVSS added a project coordinator position, which focuses on Green Dot, engaging men and incoming student education.
With a fulltime staff member focused on Green Dot and incoming student engagement, SRVSS was able to training an additional 30 educators in summer 2017. This allowed us to complete over 70 Green Dot workshops during academic year 2017-2018. SRVSS, in collaboration with the Title IX Coordinator and Dean of Students, launched “Think About It,” an online interactive module through Campus Clarity for all incoming students. Think About It provides education on healthy relationships, consent, sexual assault, relationship violence and bystander action.