Best Practices for Providing Campus Crime Awareness
Alison Kiss  -  2009/9/9
http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovcproviderforum
 
 
I work on a college campus in Maryland and must conduct a documented review of victim/witness assistance needs and available services within our area. I have been told that this is already being captured nationally but need to know who to contact. Can you help me please?
 
1.  Alison Kiss
 Two sources I would try are RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network) and he National District Attorneys Association- Commission on Victim Witness Assistance. The NDA published a study a while ago regarding victim-witness assistance but it may be more of a national representation. If you try your local DA's office, they may have specific data for your area.
 
 
How do you work towards raising awareness on campuses where the administration believes that a crime -such as sexual assault -does not occur on their campus?
 
1.  Alison Kiss
 It is always a challenge when you have an administration that is not supportive of your efforts. One step I would take would be to enlist the support of your local victim service center to provide training for all staff and faculty. Approach it as a professional development opportunity wherein staff can obtain training on sexual assault and harassment (required by most HR departments). This will also provide some sensitivity training for staff members.
 
2.  Alison Kiss
 The situation that you mentioned is always a challenge- especially if the administration is not supportive of efforts. If a campus has a culture of silence where sexual assault is not talked about then a student is less likely to come forward. By providing various forms of education and outreach on campus about sexual assault and also involving local victim service centers- not affiliated with the university- you are providing your students with multiple locations to report crimes.
 
 
Is there a particular curriculum that can be used to teach programs how to provide campus crime awareness?
 
1.  Alison Kiss
 There are excellent resources on our National Campus Safety Awareness Month website, www.campussafetymonth.org. There are different programs ranging from no cost to high cost so it depends on what type of program you want and your budget.
 
 
Hi Alison! What is the best way to get college students interested in the peer to peer education programs?
 
1.  Alison Kiss
 I would first reach out to some student leaders through government, greek life, residence life, athletics and see what interest you get there. Also, involving students from different majors- public health, education as it may be an interest to them and also provide an opportunity to design curricula.
 
 
Have you noticed a particular fact/statistic/etc. that surprises high school students the most about campus crime?
 
1.  onlinenowtoday
 Having a high school student myself, and knowing that these (17-18 YO) never believe anything can happen to them or to believe an adult, would it be possible to have students (peers) who would be willing to come talk to them about the very strong connection this has.
 
2.  Nikki F.
 I work in a DVSA agency in Washington. In discussions with high school students in our area, they seem most surprised when we explain the low percentage of false sexual assault reports to law enforcement. Many of the students we speak with, male and female alike, perceive that number to be well over 50, with some reporting that almost 100 are false reports. It's eye-opening information for us, as it better guides us on what information we should be discussing with students and the community.
 
3.  Alison Kiss
 YES!! Most of the high school students we present to (99 according to our outcomes) do not realize the connection between alcohol and sexual assault. When we present that someone cannot legal consent to sex while intoxicated, they are astonished. We spend a lot of time educating on this issue so students are knowledgable.
 
 
I work in the area of identity theft. When we have done presentations during the day we only have about 30 college students drop in at lunchtime. Is there a better way, besides campus newspapers, to help get information out or talk with larger groups of students?
 
1.  Shelley
 Sometimes if the topic is related to a class, you can speak with the professor and the professor will bring their class to the presentation. Also, one of the schools I've worked with posts announcements on plasma TVs in their campus centers.
 
2.  Bry-Anne J.
 Try partnering with student organizations and hosting some programs at night, when most students are done for the evening. I hope this helps.
 
3.  Roy A. Barnett
 I would suggest using Facebook and Twitter, and starting a discussion on them. Everybody seems to visit both on a pretty regular basis, and I believe they may be a good start.
 
4.  Alison Kiss
 A great but challenging idea is to speak to some faculty about curriculum infusion and tying in lessons on identity theft. this can be pertinent to computer science courses, criminal justice/sociology course, education (identity theft and teens), or human services (elderly community). Also a tie in with campus safety and national campus safety awareness month- holding events to label students belongings.
 
 
What is the Clery Act?
 
1.  Alison Kiss
 I am not sure that I can capture the essence of the Clery Act in such limited space. Our website, www.securityoncampus.org, provides information on the history of the act along with the actually statutes in real and layman's terms. In a nutshell, it requires campuses to report crime statistics to the Department of Education, send out warnings if there is a current or on-going threat to student safety, provides for certain rights for victims of sexual assault, maintain a crime log, and publish an annual security report. I definitely encourage you to research it further on our site.
 
 
How can an advocate make campus outreach fun and engaging even though the topic may be difficult to discuss?
 
1.  Shelley
 One of the things we've done this past year at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center is to offer a campus outreach internship at some of the campuses with whom we are working. The students then generate ideas about specific ways to reach their own campus. One of the events that has been particularly popular with several campuses has been offering movie discussions about popular movies that touch on the issue of discussion. One of the campuses we work with uses skits during their orientation to talk about the issue of sexual violence. Another campus has used games like Jeopardy.
 
2.  Alison Kiss
 I hear this a lot-especially surrounding issues of sexual violence. I prefer events like the Clothesline Project where t-shirts are designed by survivors and displayed. Often, people do not know what the event is for and it peaks their curiosity. It is also very powerful. Most DV or Sexual Assault Centers have tee-shirts that they are willing to lend out. Another idea is to have events involving students discussing topics. I know that recently a university in my area wanted to get students to talk about alcohol use and they held a debate about lowering the drinking age. It was a great, inexpensive way to involve students and staff with differing opinions.
 
 
Any tips for starting a men's non-violence group on campus? Tons of interest in our community but little stucture and support to get something like this up and running.
 
1.  Alison Kiss
 Men Can Stop Rape (DC) and One in Four are great resources for starting a men's group. Mont Clair State University in NJ also received federal funding to do a calendar focusing on Men against Violence where they featured male leaders on campus talking about violence and prevention. It was a great program and they used the calendar as the main campus calendar.
 
 
How can we locate statistics about campus crime that can be used for awareness purposes?
 
1.  Roy A. Barnett
 Hello. I have found many campuses have crime info on their websites, or you can request info from some campus Police or Public Safety Departments.
 
2.  Alison Kiss
 Try www.securityoncampus.org or www.campussafetymonth.org to access information specific to a particular college or for information on campus issues.
 
3.  onlinenow
 You can always contact the Chief of Police in the municipality and try to obtain through them. Some schools try to use the Freedom of Information Act which will only give all the municipalities crime stats, not just to that particular college or location.
 
 
Having done a personal safety class for a sorority at Northwestern University in Midland, MI in 2003, and U of D-Mercy Dental School in 2008, I am interested in learning how to better educate students who invite me to their school?
 
1.  Roy A. Barnett
 Nikki, Thanks for the reply. That sounds like a great program you have there, and I hope you have continued success! I have asked my colleagues to log into this discussion, in the hopes they can learn from it as well. Hope you will stay in touch, ppt854@yahoo.com
 
2.  Nikki F.
 In addition, the university offers a course for men on campus focusing on violence prevention. Uptake is low at this time, but it's a great start.
 
3.  Nikki F.
 Hi Roy,The local university provides a personal safety/self-defense course for women on campus. Two absolutely vital pieces of the training include discussion about safety in risky situations most college women will find themselves in (most likely involving someone they know and trust vs. a stranger) as well as lengthy discussions about risk reduction vs. prevention (precautionary measures do not mean you can prevent it from happening to you, and if it does happen to you, you are not to blame). Before the facilitators began offering the program, they came to my local SADV advocacy agency and asked for our feedback from an advocates perspective. Its been a positive experience and we've even began working together to provide the training to high school students in the area.
 
4.  Roy A. Barnett
 Hello Allison, and Thank You for the response.My personal safety classes do include the very things you spoke of. It has always been my intent to educate the public to develop a plan for safety, and physical techniques are the last resort, depending on the situation. In terms of the recent assaults and robberies at some of the major Michigan schools, like the U of M, and Michigan State, how does one reach the administrations to talk with them about being a part of the solution? They seem to think(in some cases) that outsiders are trying to make them look bad, rather than providing options. To me, it does no good to add more police, or text students when the problem is happening, if students are not educated about what they're(the school)doing, and the students still have no awareness training so they can identify the possibilities of impending trouble, beforehand.
 
5.  Alison Kiss
 Personal safety classes are a great resource but are most effective when coupled with education about sexual assault and victimology. Someone may take a course on self-defense but may freeze up if victimized- which is a common response. Having a dialogue along with the self-defense class is essential.
 
 
Hi Allison and Group, Allison, what are the biggest isues you are seeing that need attention on campuses currently? Thanks.
 
1.  Michael Proctor
 Another major problem on our college campus is that of stalking. My collegues and I just completed a campus protocal designed to better eliminate the threat of stalking on college and universithy campuses. The protcal also discusses how to better threat assess a potential stalking/harassment scenario. The grant was obtained through a Department of Justice Grant, via the University of Southern California. We are currently waiting for the final review of our findings and proposals. Hopefully we will then be able to publish to assist thoughs in need. Stalking can lead to sexual and other violence on campus. The National Center for The Victims of Crime has a great deal of information concerning victim andor stalking awarness.
 
2.  Alison Kiss
 Sexual assault is an issue that continues to need attention on college campuses. Within the last ten years, the movement has gained a lot of momentum with the emergence of men's groups getting involved in positive ways. Also, alcohol is related to so much crime on college campuses and is continually viewed by students- and often their parents- as a rite of passage. Addressing these two issues separately and together is so important.
 
 
In central Massachuestts many colleges have Judicial Review Boards (J-Boards) in which the accused and the survivor in front of peers and without legal represenation must defend/back up their accusations... our local DA and police have told them this harms criminal proceedings.. yet they continue... what, if anything, has been done for other campuses with similar retraumitizing practices?
 
1.  Alison Kiss
 The Campus Sexual Assault Victims' Bill of Rights (part of the Clery Act) affords certain rights to victims of sexual assault during the disciplinary hearing process. It is also important for people on the hearing board to have proper training when working with victims of sexual assault. A student victim may choose to go through the campus judicial process but not press criminal charges. If the student has a positive experience, he/she may decide to press charges. Really, the choice belongs to the victim so although you may want him/her to file a criminal complaint, he/she may not want to. Another piece to look at is the university compliance with Title IX which has guidelines set forth specific to these types of hearings. For example, some schools may want to do a mediation and this, in fact, is not recommended and will definitely traumatize the victim. I would be happy to discuss in greater detail- if needed.
 
 
What are the pros and cons of a cell phone alert system?
 
1.  Alison Kiss
 A definite pro is the immediate notification. A con would be the limited character space provided so it is difficult to get a long message across in a complicated situation. That is why it is so important to have a multi-modal approach wherein the message could direct students to an email or something.
 
 
What communications strategies penetrate college students' resistence to believing they won't become victims?
 
1.  Roy A. Barnett
 Allison, I would seek out videos that talk about campus crimes, and work with your friends who share your concerns to make others they know aware through Twitter and Facebook. Sometimes people are more comfortable discussing things with people they talk with regularly. I would also suggest you get a copy of the books, The Gift of Fear, and Hard Target. If you have more questions, check my site, http://www.pptlifestyle.com, and you can always e-mail me for free suggestions that I don't have space for here.
 
2.  Alison Kiss
 Involving the students in the process. Making safety a community issue. If students take ownership through a peer education program or alternative events, then they will be less resistant. Asking some student leaders to take the lead or get involved.
 
 
We currently provide prevention eductaion on a local University campus. Any suggestions for innovative activities to enage students in?
 
1.  Roy A. Barnett
 Hello. I am a personal safety educator, and I would suggest you contact the University of Michigan's SAPAC(Sexual Assault Prevention Awareness Center)for some ideas. They put on an excellent event every year, called Speak Out, where victims come together to share experiences in a public forum of support. They have an excellent library of information on campus crimes, especially in the sexual assault and domestic violence areas. You can also visit my website http://www.pptlifestyle.com for free suggestions and links to organizations like the National Center for Victims of Crime(NCVC), which has an excellent resource for crimes such as Stalking.
 
2.  Alison Kiss
 In the previous question, I discussed involving the students in the education. Using peer education to educate students. There are other ways to engage students by showing movies specific to a topic (sexual assault, crime, alcohol) and holding a discussion after to talk about the issues. Collaborate with a campus group- athletics, sorority, government, etc to complete this activity.
 
 
How to bridge the gap between students and campus security as it pertains to reporting incidents of sexual assault?
 
1.  Alison Kiss
 It takes time to develop that trust. If students see campus safety officers addressing sexual assault in education programs or awareness campaigns, students will be more comfortable reporting. Remember that every victim is different and will report on his/her own schedule- if ever. All you could do is demonstrate that you and your department are sensitive to victim's needs.
 
 
How do we get administration to become aware of all the legal issues and liability ramifications when admins are less than supportive of Campus Police?
 
1.  Alison Kiss
 It depends on who you are dealing with but I would recommend a first step of approaching the admin individually to discuss. There are also trainings set up to address collaboration amongst a campus to comply with the Clery Act. We are hosting one at USC in October and there is information on our website at www.securityoncampus.org. Obviously, if all else fails, there are whistleblower provisions in the law.
 
 
Related to the question on cell phone alert systems, are there other ways to quickly and effectively alert students and staff other than using cell phone alert systems?
 
1.  Alison Kiss
 Digital signage, alert systems using loudspeakers, it depends on the size and needs of a particular campus.
 
 
Hi! We are working on putting some protocols in place on our campus for supporting survivors of Human Trafficking (domestic/international), who are trying to access education. Do you have any insight into how to support this population within the academic setting?
 
1.  Alison Kiss
 Definitely a new challenge that is emerging. I would enlist the support of a local victim service agency to provide assistance. I would also check with the Office for Violence Against Women as I am certain they would have useful information or resources in this area.
 
 
Hello Everyone, With the high number of unreported sexuals assaults on any college of university, are there any effective methods to encourage reporting to the police?
 
1.  Roy A. Barnett
 I have some resources to share, and first and foremost, you have to educate people! A couple of book suggestions, The Gift of Fear, by Gavin deBecker, and The Battered Women's Survival Guide-Breaking the Cycle by Jan Berliner Statman, which both give suggestions. Another resource, http://www.ncvc.org the site of the National Center for Victims of Crime, with info that will help. For more suggestions, my site, http://www.pptlifestyle.com, and you can find other links there, as well as my e-mail for other suggestions I don't have space for here. Google Common Ground Sanctuary here in Michigan; they may know of similiar support groups in your area that can help...somtimes it is a matter of self esteemworth(mental strength) that can make a difference.
 
2.  D Halstead
 We are currently doing just that in almost every presentation to the students and staff. At the end of many of these presentations a student will come up and talk and ask more questions about reporting or simply talk about an incident involving their friend. What I was hoping to learn here, is what can we do in addition to what we are currently doing?
 
3.  Alison Kiss
 I am not sure if encourage is the word that I would use as every victim is different. What you can do is promote a supportive environment by talking about the issue in residence halls or at student group meetings. Also, providing education about the process. For example, students may not know that if they have a rape kit done, they are not required to report it to police but will have the evidence if they decide to report in the future. Really, just talking about it and letting students know that you will support them.
 
 
Can you comment on student underage drinking on and off campus and it's consequences to the students, college and community.
 
1.  Alison Kiss
 There are so many consequences of student underage drinking on and off campus and a need to address student drinking. We especially see problems amongst high risk groups (Greek, First-year students, and athletes). It is important to educate students in various formats as no one method has been proven solely effective. Having speakers in recovery come to discuss their stories, harm reduction strategies/motivational counseling are all good strategies. I also think it is important to reach parents as, unfortunately, some parents condone drinking as a rite of passage.
 
 
Do you have any advice for efforts focused on reaching specific campus communities such as GLBTQ, international, or non-traditional student and/or faculty?
 
1.  Roy A. Barnett
 Reaching out to GLBTQ is tough, even when you have worked with them. I have done security work for our local Gay Pride Event held in June in Ferndale, MI, and offered to conduct safety classes for them to no avail. However, having said that, I think if there are local or statewide GLBTQ in your area, like Affirmations here in Michigan, you can work with them to either contact campus groups they know of, or maybe establish one to help GLBTQ students deal with the specific campus crimes they may face.
 
2.  Alison Kiss
 First, I think it is so important to reach out to these underserved communities! It is difficult to find good materials that offer diversity. I think involving the mentioned groups in the education and also collaborating with outside non-profits focused on serving the LGBTQ and international community. Involving all students in this process can be helpful if you couple it with an exercise in diversity- the invisible backpack activity is a great activity that helps students to understand what other people may see as something that is weighing on them.
 
 
Our intercollegiate council which includes 19 campuses has been successful in helping to improve the awareness and prevention education process. Are many other states using the power of this collective voice?
 
1.  Lois Manns
 Sorry that I had to leave prematurely. For information on the Intercollegiate Council you may contact me at fris4@yahoo.com or visit the website at www.fris.org although the website is being revised and does not have the latest information. We have a revised online training module and are in the process of developing a campus toolkit which will include templates for policies, reporting forms, sample programs, etc. We have previously provided training on peer education, male programming, social norms, dating violence, you name it.
 
2.  Anna
 I just googled intercollegiate council on sexual violence Lois Manns since it seems like Lois has left. I believe that this is the website. http://www.fris.org/Sections/08-Programs/8.01-WVCouncil.html
 
3.  Linda Foley
 Please contact the Identity Theft Resource Center if you want to educate your members on this topic. 858-693-7935 x 104. www.idtheftcenter.org We are a nonprofit and have a program aimed at college students.
 
4.  Shelley
 I would like to hear more abut how your intercollegiate council operates and how the council has been able to improve awareness and prevention education.
 
5.  Kristin
 Please provide contact info for your consortium.
 
6.  Alison Kiss
 HI LOIS! I have visited your group and found the work that you do very impressive. I also encourage other states to collaborate in such a consortium like environment as it provides the opportunity to discuss trends and effective practices.
 
 
I developed a poster that advises women to help keep themselves safe by not drinking to excess and going out and going home with friends. I have been criticized for putting the blame on women. The women's ctr supported the poster until recently and have backed off (politics?). Why is telling women that high risk behavior (drinking to excess) is dangerous a bad thing? Facts are facts.
 
1.  Michele Shockle
 Regarding advisory posters, it is important to focus on what people SHOULD do instead of always focusing on what they SHOULD NOT do. When we tell children Don't talk to strangers is does not really prepare them for what they should do if someone tries to assault them. People need to know what they SHOULD do to reduce their chances of becoming a victim, what they SHOULD do if they find themselves in a risky situation, what they SHOULD do if they are assaulted.
 
2.  joe cairo
 It is my intention to do some male education as well.
 
3.  Roy A. Barnett
 Joe, I applaud your attempt to do something to help. I wish the Women's Center would have informed you of specifically why they pulled their support. However, having said that, I think, as has been suggested, that it might be good, in any future efforts you make, to involve the Women's Center, and please, don't stop your efforts to help; and remember, making mistakes is how we learn to do better!
 
4.  Roy A. Barnett
 Nikki, You hit the nail right on the head! As a male who teaches women to stay safe, it has always been my contention that we have to educate males, especially those that may have been exposed to domestic violence as a child. When I did the seminar at Northwood University for a sorority there, only ONE(?!)guy showed up in support of his girlfriend. He actually participated in a safety scenario I did, and thanked me for coming! We need more guys like him!
 
5.  Dave Pleasants
 Has there ever been any statistical analysis of victims concerning their level of alcohol or drug consumption?
 
6.  Nikki F.
 This is a contentious topic. While I do believe that we would be doing a disservice to women by not discussing risk reduction, we are doing more of a disservice by not also discussing prevention with men, those most likely to perpetrate sexual assault. We've been talking about risk reduction with women for years, but such little time has been devoted to speaking with men about their role in sexual violence. I use the example of the seatbelt. We wear seatbelts to reduce our chances of injury in an automobile accident, but that in no way prevents our risk of being injured. Risk reduction is not getting to the root cause of sexual violence, so we absolutely MUST work with the potential perpetrators of these crimes.
 
7.  Cmurphy
 Such a tricky issue! Given societal history with victim blaming, your preventive message could be interpreted as ignoring assaulters' responsibility. A well -worded intro sentence about only rapists are responsible for rape- but drinking makes it easier for them... could have helped. ( obviously that was NOT the well-worded sentence. :-)
 
8.  Alison Kiss
 I understand what you are saying but also understand where the criticism is coming from. So often, people- in good faith- use risk reduction strategies as a way to prevent sexual assault but there is a need to put the onus on the perpetrator. Posters or campaigns advising women how to be safe put forth the image that is a woman does drink too much and is raped that it is her fault. I know that is probably not your intention but if a student sees that poster and has been raped- she may blame herself and then not report.
 
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