The University of Iowa continues to make progress on efforts to combat sexual assault on campus and improve support for victims.
Starting July 1, UI President Sally Mason directed the university to commit $27,000 annually to support the coordinator of the Johnson County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and its Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) program. Mason called for funding a portion of the coordinator position in her Six Point Plan to Combat Sexual Assault.
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The SART team includes law enforcement, the Johnson County Attorney’s Office, and local agencies and hospitals. They, along with SANE examiners, are on the front lines of caring for victims of sexual misconduct, providing critical medical care and emotional support, and gathering evidence needed to pursue legal action against assailants. The examiners, staffed from both University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and Mercy Medical Center in Iowa City, are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Pam Terrill, ARNP, currently holds the half-time coordinator position, which has been partially supported by a grant to the UI College of Nursing from the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, Crime Victims Assistance Division. She’s responsible for training team members and managing their on-call schedule.
“President Mason’s support and prioritization for this position is another way the University of Iowa has demonstrated its commitment to providing long-term and effective support for survivors,” says Monique DiCarlo, the UI sexual misconduct response coordinator. “Emergency care has a long-term impact on the health and quality of life for survivors, so ensuring we have trained personnel on call not only demonstrates the president’s commitment to their ongoing wellbeing, but it helps ensure victims have an advocate immediately after an incident.”
Other progress made on the Six Point Plan since its announcement in February includes the purchase and staffing of a second Nite Ride van, revision of the language contained in Timely Warnings about assaults (including the addition of a “trigger warning”), and creation of a student advisory group. The 14-member student group advises the president on the impact of policies and practices, gathers input from other students, and monitors UI progress toward meeting its commitments for addressing sexual misconduct.
The advisory group will resume meeting this fall, when a new online, video-based program called Every Choice and aimed at reducing campus sexual assault, dating/domestic violence and stalking, also comes online.