Joliet Junior College gets grant to prevent violence
By Tony Graf firstname.lastname@example.org October 30, 2012 9:34PM
Updated: December 1, 2012 4:22PM
JOLIET — Joliet Junior College has received a federal grant to strengthen its role in the prevention of domestic violence against women.
The $297,000 grant is from a Justice Department program that aims to reduce sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking on campus. JJC is the only community college in Illinois to receive such a grant, the college said Monday.
The local project was designed by a coalition involving college officials, Guardian Angel Community Services and the office of the Will County state’s attorney, James Glasgow. These agencies met Monday at the college’s Main Campus on Houbolt Road in Joliet.
“This grant will provide us an opportunity to come together as partners, to educate and empower our students and community members about this critical matter that impacts us globally,” said Yolanda Isaacs, vice president of student development at the college.
“One in four college students who are female have been a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking — the things we’re trying to combat,” said April Balzhiser, senior program director at Guardian Angel.
“This is going to give us the opportunity to make sure that in Will County, domestic violence is addressed aggressively; prevention programs are put in place, so that we can stop this epidemic from continuing; and any time a crime does happen, it will be investigated vigorously, prosecuted vigorously, and the appropriate punishments imposed,” Glasgow said.
Sherri Morrow, associate professor in counseling at the college, gave an overview of the local effort.
The project will provide victim advocacy assistance; educate faculty, students and staff to prevent these types of crimes on campus; and train faculty and staff on how to respond effectively.
Guardian Angel has a significant role in the effort:
The agency will provide 24-hour assistance to victims, including crisis intervention, counseling, hospital advocacy and legal advocacy;
Advocates will assist with referral and other services for victims, including coordinating services with mental health providers, legal staff, legal representation and the state’s attorney’s office;
The agency will provide prevention education to students, staff and community members at the college; and
The agency will assist the college in training law enforcement to respond effectively to cases.
“I was honored, I was humbled by the opportunity to sit down and work on this grant,” said Morrow, the grant director, who has worked for seven years at the college to educate the community on the prevention of violence against women.
“From the work that Guardian Angel does every single day, we’re so absolutely thrilled and honored that Joliet Junior College has asked us to partner, and we really look forward to supporting victims and to preventing future violence,” Balzhiser said.
The agency granting the funds is the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women.