Walsh receives Department of Justice grant to expand sexual assault services on UW-Madison campus

Professor Kate Walsh

Kate Walsh, Professor of Psychology and Gender and Women’s Studies, and head of the Sexual Violence Research Initiative, has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crimes, to expand sexual assault services on the UW-Madison campus.

The overarching goal of this project is to bring together campus and community sexual assault resources that are currently a bit siloed and lay the groundwork for a survivor-centered, trauma-informed coordinated Sexual Assault Response Team (SART).

Professor Walsh and her team plan to expand advocacy capacity by hiring and training an Advocate Coordinator to take on additional advocacy work at University Health Services and liaise with both campus and community resources and providers, including the Meriter Forensic Nurse Examiner program at UnityPoint Health and the Rape Crisis Center. They also plan to do evaluation with students through both surveys and focus groups to understand gaps in knowledge about and utilization of services as well as areas for service improvement, particularly for students who are disproportionately impacted by sexual assault (e.g., women, transgender, genderqueer, and gender expansive students, LGB students, and students with disabilities).

They will use these data to create messaging and programming to improve awareness of services, dismantle myths about eligibility for services and improve inclusivity and accessibility of services for all students. This project has the potential to substantially improve access to resources and better support students who have experienced sexual assault, which in turn may have an important impact on the culture around sexual assault at UW-Madison.

Congratulations, Professor Walsh! More information about the award can be found on the Office for Victims of Crime Awards press release.