Funds will help to provide services, education, prevention
A $326,041 grant awarded to UNK will help in the fight to end violence against women.
A press conference Tuesday announced the grant, which was awarded through the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Violence against Women under the Rural Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking Assistance Program.
Of 226 applications, UNK is one of only 64 organizations nationwide to be awarded, and the first university to receive the grant.
“The award provides the opportunity for recipients to develop and strengthen effective response to violence against women,” said Dr. Joe Oravecz, dean of student affairs.
Chancellor Doug Kristensen said the funds will be used to implement several prevention and education services both on campus and in the community.
“ According to the U.S. Department of Justice, one in six women will be sexually assaulted. A female on a college campus in four times more likely to be sexually assaulted,” Kristensen said. “We want to find ways to serve the needs of young women in this community.”
The grant is a collaboration between UNK and other partners including the S.A.F.E. Center, Kearney Police Department, Buffalo County Attorney and the Family Advocacy Network.
Dr. LeAnn Obrecht, director of Counseling and health Care, said the grant will help expand the role of the Women’s Center while funding other initiatives to help female victims of violence.
“Because we are more rural, it makes victims even more hesitant to come forward. We find out after the fact. Sometimes its years before victims are ready to talk about things that have happened to them,” Obrecht said.
Nikki Gausman, executive director of the S.A.F.E. Center helped write the grant and organize the grant initiatives.
The primary purpose of the grant is to enhance victim safety and support services to the victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. It will serve UNK, Kearney and surrounding areas.
“We are incredibly excited about this opportunity,” Oravecz said.