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On-Campus Advocates Join UC Community as Part of Title IX Partnership with Women Helping Women


In a partnership with Women Helping Women, UC is adding to the range of resources available to survivors of sexual assault. Starting this month, two on-campus confidential advocates from WHW will be available to the campus community, housed in offices in Steger Student Life Center.

Date: 10/20/2016 12:00:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824

UC ingot   In working to continually find better ways to prevent and respond to cases of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct, the University of Cincinnati is adding to the range of options it already offers in the form of advocacy, training, prevention and resources related to Title IX.

In an agreement between UC’s Division of Student Affairs and Women Helping Women (WHW), the community organization is providing two full-time, on-campus, confidential advocates to provide comprehensive support to those who have or are experiencing (or have witnessed) gender-based violence, such as sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking.
  • Starting in this new role on Oct. 20 is Courtney Harchaoui. She can be reached by stopping by 559 Steger Student Life Center, at 513-556-4418, or via e-mail at charchaoui@womenhelpingwomen.org
  • Starting as a second confidential advocate on Nov. 1 as part of the same agreement is Susan Pelle. She can be reached by stopping by 559 Steger Student Life Center, at 513-556-4418, or via e-mail at spelle@womenhelpingwomen.org
These advocates will provide confidential services that are focused on the survivor and include individual crisis intervention, hospital accompaniment, campus reporting assistance, accompaniment through Title IX and law enforcement or legal processes, assistance with campus-based accommodations, referrals for health and wellness services, and assistance with interim measures. While primarily focused on serving all students, the advocate will also be available to campus faculty and staff as well.

In addition to these full-time, on-campus advocates, the Women Helping Women hotline is available 24/7 at 513-381-5610, the WHW hotline.

“Our new advocates, to be dedicated to serving the campus community, will provide confidential support for students. We believe survivors, and we support survivors. The advocate's role is to listen to the survivor, outline options, link survivors to services that they want and to focus on empowerment," said Kristin Smith Shrimplin, president and CEO of WHW.

According to Debra Merchant, vice president of UC’s Division of Student Affairs,  students need a variety of support options, and this new partnership with WHW provides another confidential support on campus, in the same way that there are counselors in UC’s Counseling and Psychological Services who specifically provide assistance to survivors of sexual assault or harassment.

She stated, “This adds to what we can provide to students. Some of the support is what we call confidential (like that offered by a counselor or this advocate). Some of it is what we call non-confidential or of public record, like going to UCPD. In order to provide the best service, it’s important to provide these confidential options as well.”

Other Title IX News:
  • With the start of the new school year, UC expanded prevention options with new bystander training.
  • With the start of the new school year, UC has developed a Support Services Coordination Team to bring together all those addressing gender-based violence and sexual assault.
  • UC has added two Title IX investigators and recently hosted (on Aug. 15-16) a level-one Title IX investigator training session, led by the Association of Title IX Administrators.
  • Annually, incoming UC students take 'Think About It' online training highlighting the role alcohol often plays in terms of sexual assault. That training also focuses on accountability and consequences, laws and policies governing sexual assault.
  • The new offerings add to those already available to students, including confidential medical services, UCPD’s victim services coordinator, and UC’s Counseling and Psychological Services Center 24/7 service to students in crisis due to sexual harassment, misconduct and assault. For a complete list of resources, visit UC’s Title IX site.