Lack of funds limits HAVEN’s abilities

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When a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences was sexually assaulted on campus this semester, she was unaware of the services on-campus for abuse victims.

The organization, which provides the services, could not afford advertisements to inform her because its federal funding was not renewed this year.

Helping Abuse and Violence End Now, or HAVEN, is a network of university offices which offers violence prevention education and provides resources and references to victims of interpersonal violence, sexual relation violence and stalking, said Sue Cooper, Department of Public Safety crime prevention officer.

The organization's two-year federal grant was not renewed, leaving it without a budget to coordinate departments or publicize to students.

"It's horrible because more people need it than someone would expect," said the student, who did not want to be named. "And not many people know about it."

Although she received help from the Counseling Center, the student said she would have sought help from HAVEN if she had known what it was.

In the spring of 2001, HAVEN was awarded a grant from the Office of Violence Against Women in the U.S. Department of Justice to combat violence against women.

HAVEN reapplied for the grant but did not score enough points on their proposal to receive the money.

The decision may have been affected by the types of applicants in this year's pool, according to Jocelyn Sideco, assistant director of University Ministry.

Sideco, a HAVEN member, said the government allocates funds to jump-start sexual violence awareness programs at universities.

Marquette may have appeared as a well-established program that did not need the additional funding, which may have swayed the decision to not renew the grant.

Cooper and Sideco said although the organization may not have enough money to print brochures and provide other materials to publicize its services, individuals on campus are still dedicated to the effort.

"Those of us who are committed to HAVEN are going to continue to do the work whether we receive funds from the government or not," Cooper said. "We need to provide resources and references to victims of violence. It's important for victims to find a voice."

The program functions with the cooperation of individuals from various departments such as DPS, the Psychology Department, the Counseling Center, the Office of Residence Life, the Manresa Project, the Office of Student Development, the Division of Student Affairs and the Center for Student Health and Education, Sideco said.

The university works with outside community groups including the Sexual Assault Treatment Center at Aurora Sinai Medical Center, 945 N. 12th St., and the Healing Center, 611 W. National Ave., a group of sexual abuse survivors and community members who help victims of sexual assault.

Sideco said the coordination between on-campus and off-campus groups requires a full-time position and said program members are looking for funding from within the university to establish such a position.

The university may see that individuals are doing the job and may feel there is no need for a full-time position.

Regardless of who keeps HAVEN together, Sideco said there is a need for such a program at the university.

"It's possible that a survivor will get lost in the politics of the university and the politics of law enforcement without an advocate, and that's what I'm afraid of," Sideco said.

Individuals who would like to contact HAVEN can call their hotline at 288-5746.

This article appeared in The Marquette Tribune on Dec. 7 2004.

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