Penn Women’s Center offers anti-violence advocate training

Anti-Violence Advocate Training

Penn Women's Center

Dating violence is a sensitive topic that University faculty and staff must understand in order to effectively aid the students they advise.

The Penn Women’s Center (PWC) is offering a free workshop that will address how to recognize and respond to incidents of dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Nina Harris, the PWC’s violence prevention educator, says that while the University offers resources to students through the Division of Public Safety and the Office of Student Conduct, many don’t feel comfortable going to campus authorities.

“What we are finding is if students are comfortable reaching out, they’re going to reach out to the staff or faculty that they have the most intimate relationship with,” says Harris. “So, it’s very important that [staff and faculty] be knowledgeable about what resources are available to students, as well as how to recognize signs of trouble, how to address that and how to speak to students in a way that’s supportive.”

The 15-hour, three-day, Anti-Violence Advocate (AVA) Training includes sessions led by experts from organizations such as Women Organized Against Rape and Women Against Abuse.

“There’s a lot of psychological and emotional violence and stalking that happens before it may even become physical,” Harris says. Incessant calling, having to check in with your partner constantly, name calling or abusive language are all abusive behaviors that could be potentially dangerous, she says.

The AVA training will be held June 8 to 10 in Claudia Cohen Hall, and is open to the first 40 people who register. Training and registration information is available at the Penn Violence Prevention website.

Originally published on May 12, 2011