U.S. Justice Department Renews Virginia Tech Grant to Raise Awareness About Violence Against Women

BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 10, 2003 – The U.S. Department of Justice has awarded Virginia Tech's Women's Center and the university's Office of Judicial Affairs a $300,000 grant, renewing an earlier Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grant to raise awareness on campus about sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking and cyberstalking. The first VAWA grant for two years was received in 2001; the renewal will extend it to 2005.

"Over the past two years, we have made great strides to help end violence against women at Virginia Tech through awareness training for faculty and staff members and via theatre productions for the campus and local communities. We continue to facilitate presentations for classes, residence halls and various organizations," said Maureen Lazar, victim services outreach coordinator for the Women's Center.

"We also continue to work at increasing the number of cases adjudicated both on and off campus," she added.

According to Lazar, the grant has allowed the university to reach 1,700 students and members of the faculty and staff via the theatre productions and 30,000 professors, staff members, students, and families of students through the distribution of information.

"Over the past two years, more than 150 students, faculty and staff have come to the Women's Center for counseling services, and our Stop Abuse website, which went on-line in September 2002, has attracted more than 6,800 visits. We are excited that we have an additional two years to expand upon these numbers," Lazar said.

Lazar expressed appreciation to "those individuals both on and off campus who have collaborated with us, guided us, and supported all of our efforts to this point. We look forward to future collaborations to help end violence against women here at Virginia Tech."

She also asked the campus community to provide suggestions for and/or feedback on programs that will help end violence against women.

Information about VAWA programs is available on the Women's Center website at http://www.womenscenter.vt.edu and the stop abuse website at http://www.stopabuse.vt.edu.