RICHMOND, VIRGINIA--Amidst the flurry of national and statewide conversation about how best to address and prevent sexual assaults on college campuses, the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance (Action Alliance), Virginia’s statewide coalition of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Agencies, today released an outline of best practices in establishing a campus response to sexual assault.
The “Key Elements of Effective Policy Addressing Campus Sexual Violence” offer guidelines based on more than 30 years of work with students, campuses, community advocates and national leaders dedicated to building an effective response to sexual assault.
“Campus leaders, community advocates, and legislators are working hard to determine the best way to stem the tide of campus sexual assault. These guidelines are designed to help make their policy decisions easier and better informed,” said Kristi VanAudenhove, Executive Director of the Action Alliance.
The guidelines outline four overarching principles to inform campus response policies and protocols:
1. Is trauma-informed
2. Holds offenders accountable
3. Is coordinated and consistent
4. Is comprehensive, with a focus on prevention
“Trauma-informed policies and procedures help survivors make informed choices about their options, and that results in better outcomes for the entire campus community. When first responders and investigators are properly trained to provide a trauma-informed response, and when survivors have confidential, trained advocates available to them both on-campus and off-campus, survivors are more likely to report the incident and have better outcomes emotionally and academically. Trauma-informed procedures are a win-win for survivors and responders alike,” concluded VanAudenhove.
The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence has been working in partnership with Virginia’s campuses to improve response to sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking on college campuses since 2007, when it first launched The Red Flag Campaign. The Red Flag Campaign is a national bystander intervention campaign for college campuses. Twenty Virginia colleges and universities guide the on-going development and evaluation of Red Flag Campaign.
The Action Alliance membership also includes a Virginia Campus Task Force, which focuses on improving the campus response to sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking. The Virginia Campus Task Force is currently reviewing the Key Elements document.
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About the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance: The Action Alliance has been Virginia’s leading voice on sexual and domestic violence for 30 years and enhances response and prevention efforts through training, public policy advocacy, public awareness programs, and technical assistance to professionals.