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New funds will help the Center for Effective Public Policy prevent campus sexual assault

SILVER SPRING, Md., Nov. 11, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Building upon its prior work to address sexual violence, the Center for Effective Public Policy will team up with nationally renowned experts to develop campus sexual assault prevention strategies that focus specifically on campus environmental factors.

The project, which will be administered by the Center for Effective Public Policy, is the first campus-based effort of its kind, and was made possible thanks to a $750,000 award from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART).

The Center and its partners will develop a college version of "Shifting Boundaries," an evidence-based prevention program that was originally designed to reduce sexual harassment and dating violence in secondary education settings. In a 2014 report prepared for the White House, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention credited "Shifting Boundaries" as one of only two interventions having "rigorous evidence of effectiveness" in preventing sexual violence perpetration and having potential as a useful model for campuses.

"Concerns about campus sexual assaults are at an all-time high," says Dr. Kurt Bumby, Senior Associate at the Center for Effective Public Policy and director of the organization's new campus initiative. "We are very pleased to have this opportunity to work with an exceptional team of partners, using a unique approach to support colleges and universities as they make great strides to combat this serious issue."

The project's partners include: Dr. Nan Stein of the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, and chief developer of "Shifting Boundaries"; the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, Applied Research Services, and Holly Rider-Milkovich, director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center at the University of Michigan and a nationally recognized expert and influential voice in the campus sexual assault prevention community. Duke University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Williams College will explore opportunities to pilot these strategies within existing campus sexual assault prevention efforts at their respective institutions.

"Most campus sexual assault prevention efforts focus primarily on raising awareness and increasing knowledge about sexual assault. However, to prevent sexual violence, we must develop prevention strategies that change the campus community and the environmental conditions that contribute to the perpetration of sexual violence," David Lee of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault notes. "What makes this project unique is that it is designed to create community level change."

With its innovative approach and focus, the three-year pilot initiative can provide important information to guide and complement existing campus sexual assault prevention programs."We are still learning about what approaches are most effective in preventing sexual violence," Karen Baker, Director of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, says. "What we do know is that it is a complex issue that requires interventions on many levels. This project gives us an important opportunity to contribute to this knowledge and support the outstanding efforts of colleges and universities throughout the country."

ABOUT THE CENTER FOR EFFECTIVE PUBLIC POLICY

The Center for Effective Public Policy (the Center) is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing system change in the interests of justice. For over three decades, the Center has led a variety of national, statewide, and local initiatives that address the many complex challenges faced by justice systems and other key system and community stakeholders. The Center's work emphasizes collaboration and the value of evidence-based policies and practices. The Center currently leads two nationwide efforts aimed at ensuring victim-centered system responses to sexual violence, oversees a multi-state initiative that promotes evidence-based decision-making in the criminal justice system, administers a national resource center on justice-involved women, and operates the nation's only resource center for parole boards. The Center also administers the Center for Sex Offender Management (CSOM), a national resource center that supports stakeholders with implementing effective strategies to manage and reduce the risk of individuals who have committed acts of sexual violence.

CONTACT: Dr. Kurt Bumby, Senior Associate Center for Effective Public Policy 301-589-9383; email kbumby@cepp.com

Source:National Sexual Violence Resource Center