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Dordt awarded grant to keep campus safe

The Department of Justice’s Office On Violence Against Women in the U.S. has awarded Dordt College a grant of $197,172 as part of the government’s “Reduce Violent Crimes Against Women on Campus Program.”

The grants were awarded to institutions of higher education that have applied for and expressed a willingness to develop comprehensive, coordinated responses to violent crimes against women on campuses and in the community, including sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence, dating violence, or simply oppressive behavior.

Dordt College became aware of available Violence Against Women grant funding through the college’s Social Work Program Director, Dr. Jim Vanderwoerd, who serves on the board of the Family Crisis Center of Northwest Iowa. Vanderwoerd said that because violence against women is not a widespread problem on campus or in the community it’s easy to pretend it doesn’t exist.

“This is about being pro-active and raising awareness of the problem without raising alarm,” he said. Vanderwoerd assisted social work majors in conducting a student survey last fall at Dordt College, Northwestern College and NICC (Northwest Iowa Community College). Data from that survey indicated that despite a rural, religious, and traditional setting, Northwest Iowa is not immune violence and sexual assault.

The Family Crisis Center and local law enforcement agencies will work together with Dordt College. It is anticipated that this group effort will produce resources that may be made available to other area colleges to assist them in developing similar safe campus programs.