Southwestern College Awarded Federal Grant to Combat Sexual Assault, Violence

Southwestern College sexual victims advocacy buttons.
The Southwestern College campus community wore buttons of support and advocacy during Southwestern College’s Sexual Assault Awareness Week in April.

Southwestern College has been awarded $750,000 by the Department of Justice to combat sexual assault and domestic and dating violence. The grant aims to develop and strengthen  services for victims, including creating easier and confidential pathways of reporting and victim advocacy programs.

This grant will be used by Southwestern College for two fundamental purposes, said David Caspi, acting director of Title IX.

“The first is to provide advocates for victims of sexual harassment/ violence to provide information and support as the victim moves through the Title IX process,” Caspi said. “The second is to provide training for campus police on trauma-informed interviewing and criminal case development with the hope this will lead to more criminal prosecutions.”

Southwestern College will act as the lead agency of a consortium made up of five local colleges and universities. The consortium includes Palomar Community College, Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego State University and National University.

The partnership also includes the San Diego City Attorney’s Office’s Domestic Violence and Sex Crime Unit, which will provide much of the training and will work closely with the educational institutions to develop services.

In addition to creating services for victims, grant funding will train campus police officers and employees at each campus on victim advocacy, prevention methods, proper procedures and reporting. The San Diego City Attorney’s Office will work specifically with college police officers to develop better systemwide practices of prevention and prosecution.

Southwestern College students can currently file sexual misconduct and assault and domestic and dating violence complaints online on Southwestern College’s Title IX website.