All of the core faculty within the Violence Against Women Research and Outreach Initiative share a strong commitment to engaging in outreach activities. Outreach involves generating, transmitting, applying, and preserving knowledge for the direct benefit of external audiences. It means working directly with community members to create a mutually beneficial relationship between the University and the public. Outreach and engagement involves the co-creation and application of knowledge, a relationship that increases both partners' capacity to address issues. Such new knowledge can sometimes be incorporated into future research and teaching and applied in new settings.
Electronically linking domestic violence shelter programs in Michigan, and with MSU faculty, students, and support services
Professor Cris Sullivan is a Senior Fellow within MSU's Office on Outreach and Engagement
. Her first outreach project at MSU involved obtaining a grant from MSU's All-University Outreach in 1995 to electronically link domestic violence shelter programs in Michigan with each other and with MSU faculty, students, and support services. This project involved providing each participating agency with the technology and information needed to access the internet (which most domestic abuse agencies could not do at the time). This project also funded equipment and internet connections for the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
(MCADSV) and the Michigan Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board
(MDVPTB). This initial effort was a tremendous success. Nonprofits increased their ability to communicate with each other and with government funders, and further collaborations with MSU researchers were initiated. The success of this pilot study allowed the MSU VAWROI faculty to garner trust and develop a strong rapport with shelters, crisis centers, state agencies, and advocacy groups across the state.
OTHER OUTREACH ACTIVITIES
Open Doors to Safety: Helping Domestic Violence Programs work more effectively with formerly incarcerated survivors.
Open Doors Initiative: Addressing the barriers to service experienced by lesbian, bisexual, gay, or transgender survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
Drs. Ruben Parra-Cardona and Cris Sullivan are working with the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence to (1) create safe, accessible support services for LBGTQ survivors of domestic and sexual violence, (2) examine the intersections of heterosexism, racism, classism, ableism, ageism, and violence against women and how these issues relate to barriers experienced by LBGTQ survivors trying to seek support, and (3) build statewide networks between LBGTQ service providers and domestic and sexual violence service providers in order to increase awareness and education around the multiple issues facing LBGTQ survivors and the competency to provide services. Funded by the Arcus Fund.
Examining how recent advances in medical forensics are influencing prosecution of sexual assault/abuse crimes
With funding from a MSU IRGP Multidisciplinary Incubator grant and multiple NIJ grants, Drs. Rebecca Campbell, Deb Bybee, and Angie Kennedy are examining how recent advances in medical forensics are influencing prosecution of sexual assault/abuse crimes. Their collaborative partner in this work is Turning Point, Inc.
, a Macomb County domestic violence-rape crisis programs with a nationally-recognized forensic sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) program. This research project is the first in the country to examine if and how the medical forensic services provided by a SANE program contributes to increased prosecution rates for child victims of sexual assault/abuse.
Enhancing Mexico’s response to violence against women
Dr. Ruben Parra-Cardona has been actively involved in improving the response to violence against women in Mexico. To that end, he has been providing consultation to government agencies in Chihuahua to help them become familiar with the models of coordinated community responses to address domestic violence that have been successfully implemented in the U.S. He has also educated Mexican mental health and law enforcement professionals on the nature of domestic violence and treatment approaches commonly adopted by batterer programs in the U.S. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Centro de Investigacion Familiar, A. C. (CIFAC). This family therapy institue is the major provider of services to families referred by the Nuevo Leon Attorney General's Office for cases related to domestic violence, child abuse or neglect.
Collaborating with Safe Ireland to respond to violence against women
Dr. Cris Sullivan continues to collaborate with Safe Ireland to evaluate the effectiveness of services to survivors of domestic violence. This year she was honored to participate in their media launch of two national projects. The first involved evaluating Ireland’s refuge services to domestic violence survivors and their children, while the second was a one-day census of women and children accessing domestic violence services in Ireland. The reports can be downloaded from: http://www.safeireland.ie/download-reports-other.htm
Forging relationships with the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa
In May of 2009 Sheryl Kubiak and Cris Sullivan traveled to the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in Durban, South Africa, to meet with Dr. Thenjiwe Magwaza, UKZN’s Director of the Centre for Gender Studies. Dr. Magwaza is a prolific researcher as well as a gender and social justice activist whose areas of expertise include the cultural constructions of gender, the impact of HIV/Aids on women and homecare givers, and violence against women.
Collaborating with mental health services to create a community-based research infrastructure
Drs. Cris Sullivan, Rebecca Campbell, and Deb Bybee received a a five-year NIMH infrastructure grant ("Interventions and Practice Research Infrastructure Program") in 2007 that involves collaborating with a well-established domestic violence-rape crisis mental health services organization [Turning Point Inc.]
to develop a research infrastructure in a community setting that is supportive of collaborative research on mental health services for battered women and rape victims. The five-year project will result in a community-based research infrastructure able to support and sustain a wide variety of research studies pertaining to the mental health consequences of intimate and sexual violence.
Evaluation of advocacy services for battered women significantly impacts survivors, MSU students, national policy, other states, and intervention research
Drs. Cris Sullivan, Rebecca Campbell, Deb Bybee and Lori Post all worked on an NIMH-funded project that included an experimental, longitudinal evaluation of advocacy services for battered women. This study has had significant impacts at the local, state and national levels. It resulted in (1) hundreds of domestic abuse survivors receiving advocacy services, (2) hundreds of MSU students gaining invaluable community outreach experience in the area of violence against women, (3) national policy changes, (4) replications across numerous states, and (5) influencing the direction of future intervention research in the field of violence against women.
She obtained this grant with Drs. Merry Morash (Criminal Justice), Jan Bokemeier (Sociology), and Diane Levande (Social Work), who with Dr. Sullivan founded MSU's Violence Against Women Research and Outreach Initiative (VAWROI). Over time, as Dr. Levande retired and Drs. Bokemeier and Morash moved into more administrative roles, VAWROI became inactive. However, the other interdisciplinary efforts noted in this document developed.