On March 7, President Barack Obama signed the “Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013”, reauthorizing several VAWA grant programs through 2018. The legislation received bipartisan support, and passed unanimously. This is good news for the Family Crisis Center in Great Bend, and Barton County Community College students will benefit too.
“This year, with the reauthorization of V.A.W.A, we see again that reducing and ending violence against women can be a bipartisan issue,” said Laura Patzner, executive director of the Family Crisis Center in Great Bend. “We are very thankful to Senator Moran and Representatives Yoder and Jenkins.”
According to Patzner, this policy statement reinforces that violence against women is a crime, and the public plays a role in holding perpetrators accountable, and helping survivors find safety. While the amount of funding the act brings to the F.C.C. locally is small, more funds may be made available to fill some of the gaps in services, she said.
Colleges and universities will be required to provide information to students about dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, as well as improve data collection about the crimes. According to Angie Maddy, Dean of Student Services at B.C.C., the college’s current practices already meet or address most of the elements of V.A.W.A. 2013.
“We will be looking at opportunities to expand and increase the information and education piece,” she said.
Student orientation, student consumer information and the college’s web presences will likely be the primary avenues of reaching the student population.
The Family Crisis Center also works with the college.
“We receive referrals when students have issues, provide education in some of their courses, speak to students in the dorms,” Patzner said. The college also works with the F.C.C., providing student volunteers and participating in the annual Walk A Mile In Her Shoes event.