Gender, Crime and Justice

Question 3: Amendments to the VAWA

Policy for Public Safety Regarding VAWA (Essay #1)

The purpose of this paper is to present a draft policy to the Public Safety department regarding new requirements set forth in the Violence Against Women Act. The topics that will be discussed in the duration of this paper will involve policy suggestions regarding violence against women, the measures that should be taken to avoid this violence, the actions that should take place if a situations arises where violence against women is an issue, and the policy that should be followed regarding a battering situation that takes place on campus, or involving two students.

According to Mallicoat, 18% of women had been raped in their lives in 2007 (Mallicoat 82). This startling statistic should emphasize the importance of awareness and prevention of violence against women. To aid in the prevention of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking and promote awareness about the crimes that take place against women, the University will provide informational pamphlets to the students, both female and male, with a list of warning signs that may be present in an abusive relationship and statistics about violence against women. The warning signs may come from the Handbook for Survivors of Domestic Violence (SafeHouse Center). Self-defense classes will be offered for free to students and funded by the University for any male or female student who is concerned with protecting themselves against violence. An annual awareness day will take place on campus, with seminars and guest speakers who will inform the students about abusive relationships, date rape, sexual assault, stalking and other violence-related problems that women are facing. A course will be added to the course list, by the registrar, specifically about violence against women and preventative measures, to educate and inform students about the issue of violence against women.

A counseling center on-campus will link to a 24-7 hotline, where victims may call and talk to a professional if an act of violence is committed against them. Any reports of violence that are made with the on-campus police should be forwarded to the city police station. Offenders should immediately be brought to the police for questioning. If the accused is living in an on-campus housing unit, the campus police should detained him quickly and meet with a city police officer to have the suspect questioned. A report will be made with the on-campus police department about the events that took place, if the act was committed on the grounds of the University. A thorough investigation should be conducted involving the situation. When the police in charge of the investigation have either acquitted or convicted the suspect, the University will punish the batterer in an appropriate fashion.

There will be a board of Public Safety officers and on-campus police officers who follow the protocol for each case of violent crime on campus. This board should be called the Board of Decisions for VAWA interests. Punishment for batterers will have several levels, depending on the severity of the crime, the evidence found, the conclusion of the city police department, the results of a threat assessment of the batterer and the opinions and deductions from the Board of Decisions for VAWA interests. These punishments may dictate that batterer is not allowed within a certain distance of the classes and housing of the victim, the batterer may face a temporary suspension from the University, anywhere from 1 semester to 4, expulsion from the University, or limits to the involvement they can have on campus. They may lose memberships to fraternities, clubs, on-campus employment, or even scholarships that they were granted by the University. The batterers may be limited to taking online courses only, and may be disallowed from the campus. If they do not follow these orders, more severe punishments will be handed out, such as expulsion. The importance of these punishments is that violent crimes against women will be lessened on campus by showing students that these crimes are not acceptable to the University.

Any person on campus that is accused of a violent crime against women- with the definition of violent crimes against women encompassing stalking, rape, date rape, any level of sexual assault, domestic abuse and dating violence- should be subjected to a form of probation by the University. That person should be required to report to the Counseling and Psychological Services at the University and complete a set number of counseling sessions. The amount of sessions will be decided by the Board of Decisions for VAWA interests. If the suspect is found to be innocent of the crime, he will not have to attend anymore counseling sessions. If he is found to be guilty of the crime, and is allowed to continue attending the University, he should be required to attend counseling sessions indefinitely until he is finished at the University.

Victims of stalking, dating violence, domestic violence and sexual assault should be informed of a wide-variety of resources on campus to ensure that they are taken care of and supported on the journey to recovery. There should be support groups set up several times a week for victims, and a peer facilitator should be available to run the meetings. Victims should be a top priority in the Counseling and Psychological Services office, and they should be encouraged to attend regular appointments. Victims should be given a copy of the Handbook for Survivors of Domestic Violence that is distributed by the SafeHouse Center. Since sexual harassment and assault have a negative psychological impact on women (Mallicoat 227), victims should have ample resources to get counseling support on campus to minimize the long-term psychological effects that they may suffer after a violent situation.

All of these recommendations for the policy changes on campus should improve conditions for victims of violent crimes, make students more prepared and aware of sexual assault, deter crime by showing the students that behavior that is violent toward women is not acceptable on the campus and properly punish those who break the law by committing acts of violence against women.