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Providence College Receives 2015 Avon Campus Grant for Program to Assist in Reducing Sexual Assault, Dating Abuse and Stalking

For Immediate Release: October 22, 2015 

Providence, R.I. – Providence College has received a $10,000 grant from the Avon Foundation for Women through its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence initiative. The grant will help fund Step UP! at PC, an evidence-based, bystander intervention program developed by the University of Arizona in partnership with the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

This is the second consecutive year PC has​ received funding from the Avon Foundation for Women for this program initiative. The grant is one of 25 Avon campus grants totaling $250,000 awarded to colleges nationwide to fund programs focused on preventive education on dating abuse and violence, sexual assault, stalking and the promotion of healthy relationships, as well as to offer local resources and provide referrals for community-based domestic violence experts. The grant also supports educator training, materials and support sessions about healthy relationships.

“Since arriving at PC almost four years ago, I have heard and iterated the phrase, ‘Friar Family,’ many times,” said Kristine Goodwin, Vice President for Student Affairs at PC. “I believe StepUP! helps us even more fully realize this characterization of our community as it empowers students to look out for each other by raising their awareness, increasing their motivation to intervene and help, and developing their skills and confidence for responding.”

In the first year of Step Up! at PC, 85% of our students participated in the introductory training. Now in its second year, the College continues to move forward with a successful initiative that fully integrates the program into the administrative structure and the student culture of the campus.

Surveys throughout the last academic year helped the College assess first-year students’ changes in knowledge, attitudes, and intentions regarding active bystander behavior.

With a senior administrator to sustain bystander training at the College on a continuing basis, and a core of student, staff, and faculty trainers, we expect to train at least 2,500 undergraduate students in a revised and updated version of our bystander intervention program.

Last fall, freshmen, student-athletes and student leaders underwent bystander training to give them the tools to intervene in, and possibly prevent, serious problems such as alcohol and drug intoxication, and discrimination or bias issues.

The program offers students three options for intervention: direct, delegate, or distract. Direct methods of confrontation might not be the right option for everyone. But a student could delegate by alerting police, a bartender, or other person with authority who could step in.

In April 2014, the White House issued NOT ALONE: The First Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, highlighting steps school administrators can and must take to honor their obligation to protect all students from sexual assault and violence. Recognizing that school administrators bear the burden of responsibility to provide safe communities for all students, the Avon Foundation partnered with Futures Without Violence to develop Guidelines for Preventing and Responding to Gender-Based Violence in Higher Education. These guidelines highlight best practices for creating and promoting a campus norm of interpersonal respect and non-violent relationships, and can be downloaded for free. 

Using this grant, the Avon Foundation has funded campus dating abuse programs to educate significant numbers of student groups and faculty to create awareness, to recognize the warning signs of abuse and to encourage students to safely intervene to help prevent violence.

The Avon Foundation for Women, the world’s largest corporate-affiliated philanthropy focused on issues that matter most to women, was founded in 1955 to improve the lives of women. Visit www.avonfoundation.org for more information.