University of Nebraska-Lincoln to launch advocacy program

August 3, 2018

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is establishing its own advocacy program for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

The number of students seeking advocacy services at the university following instances of sexual assault or domestic violence has risen steadily in recent years, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.

The crisis intervention service Voices of Hope saw advocacy sessions increase from 113 during the 2014-15 school year to 159 in the last one, the university said. The university notified the service in June that it wouldn’t be renewing its agreement and planned to create its own program.

“We did not see this coming,” said Marcee Metzger, executive director of Voices of Hope. “It’s taken a long time for people to know where to go for these services, and it will take time for them to reach out and find a different number or person.”

Laurie Bellows, the university’s interim vice chancellor for student affairs, said administrators made the decision after looking into what services other universities offered.

“One of the concerns I had was UNL has approximately 26,500 students, we have 24 athletic teams, approximately 4,000 Greek chapter members, and yet we did not have a full-time advocate on campus,” she said.

Bellows said UNL was one of the few universities in the Big Ten Conference without its own centralized advocacy program for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

Students will have access to one full-time advocate and a part-time staff at the new University Health Center in the fall.

The new services will triple the resources available, Bellows said.

“It’s the first time the university has made this kind of strong commitment to serving our students,” she said.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com

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