Futures Without Violence and Morehouse College Host National Leadership Institute on Campus Sexual Violence Prevention and Response

ATLANTA, December 1, 2016 —Today, the Avon Foundation for Women announced the launch of the first multi-disciplinary collaborative of 20 colleges and universities across the country dedicated to addressing gender-based violence on campus. The collaborative brought together representatives from 10 schools from the southeastern US to participate in a two-day program that dialogues around key learnings from across the country to prevent campus assault and sexual violence. As a result, each participating school will create a campus action plan that takes a trauma-based approach and involves students, college administration, campus police and leading consultants on gender-based violence.

The collaborative is an outcome of The National Leadership Institute: Changing the Narrative on Campus Gender-Based Violence presented by Futures Without Violence, a national health and social justice nonprofit, in partnership with the Gender Violence Program at Harvard Law School and the University of Virginia. The National Leadership Institute was conceived and funded by the Avon Foundation for Women building on the success of the Foundation’s global Justice Institute on Gender-Based Violence held around the world.

“The Avon Foundation has been funding bystander initiatives and awareness campaigns around sexual assault for a long time and this National Leadership Institute is breaking new ground to change the way we work together to address gender-based violence,” said Christine Jaworsky, Avon Foundation Program Director. “We’ve just spent two days looking at best practices and solutions to shift campus culture away from victim blaming to a more trauma-based perspective; now the real work begins.”

Through a $200,000 grant from the Avon Foundation, participating schools will develop and implement action plans to prevent and respond to sexual assault at their respective institutions. Futures Without Violence and the extensive faculty of the National Leadership Institute will work closely with the schools to integrate a multi-disciplinary approach to ending gender-based violence on school campuses. This will include webinars with experts, ongoing consultations, toolkits and additional online resources to advance the learning collaborative.

“All of the schools are deeply committed to proactively changing the way gender-based violence is addressed on campus,” said Lonna Davis of Futures Without Violence. “We are particularly appreciative of Morehouse College stepping up to host the National Leadership Institute, the start of a groundbreaking initiative to affect all colleges and universities across the country. The Institute is part of a long-term investment to shift the narrative and introduce a primary prevention and trauma-focused approach that engages the entire school community.”

Futures Without Violence received a grant from the Avon Foundation for Women to research, design and implement the National Leadership Institute curriculum in collaboration with Harvard Law School’s Gender Violence Program and the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education with additional funding from the Jefferson Trust and private donors Stephen and Carolyn McCandless.

“Through legal advocacy grounded in support for survivors and an ethos of care, the Gender Violence Program and Futures Without Violence have been on the forefront of the national effort to use Title IX to prevent and address campus sexual assault,” said Diane L. Rosenfeld, the founding Director of the Gender Violence Program at Harvard Law School and a Lecturer on Law. “Now, we are making an important step forward with the support and leadership of the Avon Foundation.”

The National Leadership Institute focuses on four major areas: 1) fundamentals of gender-based violence and trauma, 2) campus cultures and climate, 3) prevention and education, and 4) response, policy, and adjudication. Developed in consultation with national experts and institutional representatives from schools across the country, the curriculum provides colleges and universities the opportunity to learn best practices in the prevention, response and resolution of sexual violence, and the tools needed to implement action plans. Each school’s action plan will address prevention education; accommodations, support and safety services; retaliation; and investigations, adjudications and resolutions.

The University of Virginia served as one of the founding institutions working with Futures Without Violence and Harvard Law School to host the pilot of the Leadership Institute. “We are grateful to the Jefferson Trust for providing funding for the University of Virginia to serve as a partner on the development and implementation of this program and to the Avon Foundation for the historic creation of the National Leadership Institute to expand our community of higher education institutions working to end gender-based violence,” said Catherine Spears, Assistant Vice President of Equal opportunity at the University of Virginia.

The first National Leadership Institute was held October 25-26, 2016 in Boston with:

  1. Brandeis University
  2. Dean College
  3. Eastern Nazarene College
  4. Emerson College
  5. Lasell College
  6. Lesley University
  7. Providence College
  8. Stonehill College
  9. University of Massachusetts, Lowell
  10. Wheaton College

The second National Leadership Institute was held November 30 – December 1, 2016 in Atlanta with:

  1. Benedict College
  2. Clemson University
  3. College of Charleston
  4. East Tennessee State University
  5. Georgia Institute of Technology
  6. Georgia State University
  7. Middle Tennessee State University
  8. Morehouse College
  9. Tuskegee University
  10. University of North Carolina at Charlotte

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Futures Without Violence

Futures Without Violence is a national health and social justice nonprofit that leads groundbreaking educational programs, policies, and campaigns to end violence against women and children around the world. Providing leadership from offices in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Boston, FUTURES has trained thousands of professionals and advocates—such as doctors, nurses, judges, athletic coaches, and other community influencers—on improving responses to violence and abuse. The organization was a driving force behind the passage of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act in 1984 and the Violence Against Women Act of 1994—the nation’s first two comprehensive federal responses to interpersonal and family violence.

Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violence

Avon and the Avon Foundation for Women launched Speak Out Against Domestic Violence in 2004 to support domestic violence awareness, education and prevention programs aimed at reducing domestic and gender violence, and to provide direct services for victims and their families. Through 2015, Avon and the Avon Foundation have contributed nearly $60 million to support this goal. Globally, Avon supports efforts to end violence against women in nearly 50 countries by raising funds through special product sales and educating women around the world through its army of nearly six million Avon Representatives. For more information, visit http://avonfoundation.org/.

About Avon and the Avon Foundation for Women 

Avon is a global corporate leader in philanthropy focused on causes that matter most to women. Through 2015, Avon and the Avon Foundation for Women have contributed over $1 billion in over 50 countries. Avon’s funding is focused on breast cancer research and advancing access to quality care through the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, and efforts to reduce domestic and gender violence through its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program. The company’s global markets sell special products to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer and domestic violence, conduct hundreds of events for these causes, and educate women around the world through its global network of nearly six million Avon Representatives.