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Video Message from Director Hart Commemorating National Campus Safety Awareness Month

Office for Victims of Crime Director Jessica E. Hart highlights that during the pandemic it is more important than ever to raise awareness about safety on college and university campuses across the country. In this message, Director Hart provides an overview of an Office for Victims of Crime initiative to provide grant funding to sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) programs on college campuses to offer medical forensic care and other victim services to sexual assault survivors.

JESSICA E. HART: This September, students are returning to schools and campuses nationwide. But their arrival is different than in past years, with virtual classes, mandatory COVID tests, temperature checks, and social distancing. Unfortunately, some of these changes can also raise the risk to vulnerable populations and impact vital services to victims of crime.

In the wake of the pandemic, it is more important than ever to commemorate this month as National Campus Safety Awareness Month and to commit ourselves to raising awareness about the safety on college and university campuses across the country.

According to a review of the Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool at the U.S. Department of Education, there were over 6,500 reported on campus rapes in 2018. Survivors of sexual violence can suffer physical injuries as well as emotional and psychological trauma.

As the Director of the Office for Victims of Crime, I am taking action this year by implementing the Expanding SANE Services to Victims of Sexual Assault on Campus grant program.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner programs, also known as SANE programs, play a critical role in supporting sexual assault victims. This year, we plan to award up to $4 million dollars to establish or expand SANE programs on college campuses to offer medical forensic care and other victim services to sexual assault survivors.

Join me and the Office for Victims of Crime this September as we bring attention to the issue of safety on campus. Especially during this time, we also want to thank and applaud the medical community for their dedicated work.

Date Created: September 30, 2020