2017-18 brings a new Office for Sexual Violence Prevention and Victim Advocacy (OSVPVA), part of the Division of Student Affairs. The new unit, housed just a few blocks north of the Indiana Memorial Union at 506 N. Fess Avenue, aims to create a central location on campus where students can connect with related campus resources.
Offices within the Division of Student Affairs have spearheaded sexual assault prevention and victim advocacy efforts for years.
“At a university as large as IU, it can be difficult for students to navigate resources,” said Leslie Fasone, Senior Director for Wellness, Prevention, and Victim Advocacy. “The creation of this office has helped to coordinate the efforts of existing staff to provide a primary entry point for students to get initial support and help.”
The new office location houses this primary entry point, the Confidential Victim Advocates (CVAs). CVAs can assist students who have experienced sexual violence or misconduct with academic concerns, financial concerns, filing a report, and connecting students with additional needed resources. Sexual misconduct, as defined in the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, includes sexual harassment, sexual violence (including sexual assault and rape), dating violence, domestic violence (and domestic assault), stalking, and sexual exploitation.
CVAs work closely with IU Health Center’s free and confidential Sexual Assault Crisis Services (SACS) counselors and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) to support students who have experienced sexual violence. SACS will continue to provide immediate crisis support through its crisis line at (812) 855-8900. Students who choose to access services directly through the Health Center will be given the option of seeing a Confidential Victim Advocate as well.
“While we do seek to provide students with one entry point to our services, there are many ways that students make it to us,” said Fasone. “Our goal is to ensure that in whichever way they connect with us, the continuity of care is always the same, and that the staff who provide support work together to allow for the best experience possible, given the conditions.”
OSVPVA will also lead the charge on all initiatives related to sexual violence prevention and advocacy.
The office coordinates the first-year focused “It’s On Us: Alcohol and Consent Bystander Intervention Workshop” program, and has worked with the Office of Student Welfare and Title IX to provide an online program for graduate students tailored to their needs. Staff work to continuously evaluate program effectiveness and student needs to ensure that programs are relevant and up-to-date. The office will also continue facilitating programs such as the “Step UP!” bystander intervention program and other sexual violence awareness efforts.
“Our office is committed to ending sexual violence on campus,” said Fasone. “We work on both sides of the issue–prevention and response–to coordinate campus-wide prevention efforts, provide educational workshops on sexual violence prevention and bystander intervention, and support students who have experienced sexual misconduct.”
CVAs can be reached at (812) 856-2469 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In an emergency, call 911. For 24-hour assistance, contact Sexual Assault Crisis Services (SACS) at 812-855-8900.