Campus Advocacy Network awarded grant to support survivors, prevent gender-based violence

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The Campus Advocacy Network, a program of the Women’s Leadership and Resource Center (WLRC), has been awarded a $50,000 Violent Crime Victim Assistance grant from the Illinois Attorney General for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

The Campus Advocacy Network (CAN) provides the UIC community with free, confidential services, including advocacy, outreach and education around gender-based violence (sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, stalking and harassment). The program will use the funds to grow its emergency grant fund and work with faculty, staff and students to reimagine how to serve survivors in the UIC community.

“The majority of CAN’s clients are UIC students; through this emergency funding, the institution is able to provide financial support to defray some of the impacts of the harm that was caused to them. In this way, we show our commitment to their academic pursuits and success,” said Natalie Bennett, director of the Women’s Leadership and Resource Center and Campus Advocacy Network.

Gender-based violence harms survivors’ health, safety and well-being. Survivors often struggle financially because of costs attached to housing, medical treatment, food insecurity, legal assistance, transportation, child care and/or poor credit. Violence can disrupt survivors’ attendance at work, forcing them to take unpaid leave, or at school, affecting their grades and learning. CAN’s emergency grants for UIC students and employees help survivors stabilize their situation and heal from trauma. In particular, the grant will augment funds for emergency and transitional housing, tuition and fees, health needs, and safe transportation.

CAN’s educational programming aims to provide the UIC community with the knowledge and tools for understanding and eliminating gender-based violence, while also supporting survivors on campus.

When survivors disclose the harm they have experienced, the response — whether it’s from a friend, adviser, instructor or campus administrator — has a profound effect on whether they will tell others and ask for help. CAN educators prepare UIC students, faculty and staff to challenge policies that are harmful to survivors and implement trauma-informed, survivor-centered procedures. Violent Crime Victim Assistance grant funds will aid this “Beyond Compliance” initiative and other programming as CAN and WLRC celebrate their 30th anniversary this year.

“The Office of Diversity commends the WLRC for this much-needed award. Campus Advocacy Network plays a central role in supporting survivors of gender-based violence and educating all of us in order to create the culture change needed to help make our campus more proactive on this issue,” said Amalia Pallares, associate chancellor and vice provost for diversity at UIC.

If you or someone you know is experiencing or healing from gender-based violence or trauma, CAN advocates are available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., by phone (312-413-8206), text message (312-488-9784), email (kmaginot@uic.edu), and via their “Ask An Advocate” online form. To connect with an advocate outside of business hours, call the Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline at 888-293-2080 or the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline at 877-863-6338. Additional resources are available on the WLRC’s website. To learn more about CAN’s programming, email can@uic.edu.