LAWRENCE — For years, the University of Kansas and the Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center — formerly known as GaDuGi SafeCenter — have collaborated to provide services and programming for the KU community to prevent sexual violence on campus.
Now, the university and the center are formalizing that collaboration through a new memorandum of understanding on sexual violence.
The MOU formalizes the commitment of KU and the center to work together to provide trauma-informed services to victims of sexual assault and to improve the overall response to sexual violence at KU. The agreement builds on previous collaboration to improve services to victims and training to personnel by clarifying roles and procedures. The MOU also includes a section specifically on confidentiality and data sharing.
“The University of Kansas and The Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center share the goal of preventing sexual assault and responding appropriately to individuals who have been victimized,” said Tammara Durham, vice provost for student affairs. “This MOU strengthens and clarifies the partnership between the two entities so we can continue our work to address this issue on campus and throughout the community.”
The Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the elimination of sexual violence. The center provides free, confidential services — including a 24-hour hotline, therapeutic services, medical and legal advocacy, community education and training for students and professionals — to more than 350 individuals annually.
“We are pleased to share this coordinated effort with the University of Kansas,” said Chrissy Heikkila, executive director of the Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center. “A focus on survivors and their choices will only improve the response to campus sexual assault, and we are proud of our long legacy of working toward ending sexual violence.”
The MOU is a direct response to a specific recommendation of the Chancellor’s Task Force on Sexual Assault, which submitted its final report to Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little in May 2015. In September 2015, the university announced it had implemented or is in the process of implementing 22 of the 27 recommendations in the task force report.
“Our desire has always been to position KU as a leader in how universities address this national problem,” Durham said, “and the task force’s efforts have helped make that aspiration a reality. We are pleased that we have either implemented or continue to move toward implementing 22 of the 27 recommendations, including the recommendation regarding MOUs with community partners.”
The MOU with the Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center is the second such agreement KU has initiated with a community partner on the topic of sexual violence. Prior to the task force’s completion of its report, in February 2015, KU and the city of Lawrence entered into an MOU refining and strengthening the ways the university and city law enforcement work together to address incidences of sexual assault and, more broadly, the topic of sexual assault and sexual violence.