The U.S. Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women has awarded Daytona State College $400,000 to continue programs educating students, faculty and staff on issues of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The grant also supports DSC CARES (Creating a Responsible Environment for Students), a project that is strengthening existing programs and developing new strategies to meet evolving needs.
DSC will work in partnership with the State Attorney – 7th Judicial Circuit, the Daytona Beach Police Department, and Family Life Centers in Flagler and Volusia counties.
“Sexual assault and harassment can take many forms and we have zero tolerance for any of it,” said DSC President Tom LoBasso. “This grant allows us to maintain and expand our existing awareness, education and training programs for students, faculty and staff.”
The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey reports nearly one in three women and one in six men were stalked in their lifetime with 41% of perpetrators being current or former partners. Locally domestic violence increased 4%, and Volusia County ranks 10th highest among the 67 counties, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
“Aside from sustaining our ongoing initiatives, such as distributing wallet-sized cards containing survivor resource details, DSC CARES aims to create fresh materials tailored to equip students, faculty, and staff with appropriate, trauma-informed approaches to aid survivors,” said Rabecka Collins, Falcon HOPE Center Director. “CARES is also working on ways to reach older and non-traditional students, making sure our awareness and education really communicates with them. We’re excited to promote safety throughout Daytona State College.”
With the new funding, DSC CARES will focus on strategies to raise awareness and reduce instances of stalking, provide education on developing healthy relationship skills, providing information on available resources and how to report sexual violence, and build trust among students from underserved communities.
All incoming DSC students receive mandatory training on sexual harassment and assault as part of orientation and students cannot register for classes without completing the training. Daytona State provides information and resources to support survivors through the Falcon HOPE Center. The College employs professional counselors who provide confidential counseling, stabilization and referrals for treatment. The College also works with a network of community agencies dedicated to providing free services including forensic testing, counseling and other services.