Center for Violence Prevention (Governor’s Office for Bullying Prevention)

The FY 2018 request is a new, sustainable funding of $250,000 a year to provide statewide, collaborative services to Iowa’s PreK-12 school system and to its colleges and universities with regard to bullying and gender violence prevention and education, training and assessment. The current cost of the Center for Violence Prevention (CVP) director is paid from UNI’s base budget appropriation. There is currently no specific funding for the Governor’s Office for Bullying Prevention (GOBP).

On September 28, 2015, Governor Branstad signed Executive Order 86, which established the Governor’s Office for Bullying Prevention within the Center. In terms of programming for the office, it is currently conducted under the Center’s umbrella.  Where items addressed in the Governor’s executive order cross over into the work of the Center, UNI has already begun working on them.  The director of the Center also meets regularly with the director of the Iowa Department of Education and the Governor’s office to ensure there are no duplicative efforts.

The CVP was established in 2011 as a culmination of approximately 10 years of work in gender violence prevention with funding from the U.S. Department of Justice.  The federal grant funding allowed for establishing prevention programming, victim services, policy revisions and law enforcement/campus security to be responsive to sexual and domestic violence and stalking college women may experience.  It also allowed UNI to work with the Regent campuses to implement mandatory new student education programs, enhance training of judicial affairs officers, enhance training of campus police and other points of first victim contact, disseminate best practices in working with men in gender violence prevention efforts, develop university courses and curricula in educating students in victim services and gender violence prevention and assess and revise sexual misconduct policies. 

The Center continues to seek out grant funding. In order to continue the good work of this Center, and the directives of the Governor’s Office for Bullying Prevention, the university is requesting a more permanent funding source. The university wants to ensure that every child and family in Iowa feel safe in their schools and communities. 

How would $250,000 support the CVP/GOBP?

  • Provide leadership personnel and technical support services for bullying and gender violence prevention training to a growing number of Iowa’s PreK-12 school districts, colleges and universities. 

  • Increase research and evaluation services to Iowa’s PreK-12 school districts, colleges and universities and community coalitions and victim service provider organizations.

  • Funding Request for: 1) Full-time Director, 2) Research/Instruction Faculty, 3) Part-time Administrative Assistant and 4) Service and Supplies

Statewide Focus and Mission of the CVP/GOBP:

  • Provide prevention education, technical support, training, programming and evaluation within Iowa’s PreK-12 School Districts, colleges and universities and community agencies who serve youth and families. To date: 18 high schools and 35 community colleges, four-year colleges and universities – and growing.

  • Develop a state-wide, “train-the-trainer” PreK-16 training modules to address gender-based violence and bullying prevention education needs.

  • Build capacity with state-wide stakeholders by presenting on leadership and prevention strategies to state partners and associations: School Administrators of Iowa, Iowa Teachers Association, Iowa High School Athletic Association, Iowa Student Council Association, School Counselors Association, School Nurses Association, Family and Consumer Sciences, law enforcement, city governments, United Way organizations, faith community, juvenile court service providers, and student leadership groups and organizations.

Current CVP/GOBP Perspectives on Bullying and Violence Prevention:

  • Title IX and Clery Act have increased accountability and disclosures of sexual assaults on college campuses – much has been learned over the past 5-10 years by higher education – learning needs to be communicated and shared with PreK-12 leaders.

  • While Title IX laws guide PreK-12 school districts as well, secondary schools have lagged behind in solidifying efforts to raise awareness and infuse education in curriculum and practice to prevent violence and abuse.

  • Need for protocol/support of higher education “college readiness” initiatives to include bullying and gender violence prevention education and programming to Iowa’s secondary school students and educators.

CVP/GOBP and Governor’s Executive Order 86:

  • PreK-12 Professional Development and Training Needs:

    • Develop and execute prevention strategies that are systemic and multi-layered; increased collaboration with partners in prevention ($5,000 seed money from private foundation – Kind World Foundation)

    • Reporting procedures/Data Collection – working collaboratively with Dr. Ryan Wise and Iowa Department of Education team leaders.  (CVP/GOBP and DE to prepare RFP, January 2017.)

  • Cyber-Bullying – develop education opportunities for students, school staff and parents. The CVP/GOBP conducted a “Parenting in the Age of Social Media” event on October 10th – partnered with Cedar Falls School District. 40 some parents attended.

  • Student transfer requests from one district to another given “founded” act of bullying – remain eligible to participate in school activities. Voted on and approved during 2016 legislative session. Awaiting Administrative Rules. 

  • Near-peer mentoring model continues to be enhanced. Best practice in secondary school prevention efforts. Need more training and for schools to prioritize budgets that support this.  The CVP is the state designee for training and implementation of the Mentors in Violence Prevention model and Coaching Boys into Men program.

Research and development needed in order to decrease bullying and gender violence in Iowa’s PreK-12 schools and colleges:

  • Expand the focus – all forms of violence and abuse (gender, orientation, race, religion, ethnicity, etc.)

  • Need to see gender-based violence and bullying as a public health issue (like alcohol/drug use, smoking, contaminated drinking water)

  • Define PreK-16 role in prevention. Education is Prevention.

  • Infusion of prevention education (near-peer mentoring in MS/HS in promoting leadership and the bystander approach has demonstrated positive trends in the perceptions and beliefs of young people thinking can make a positive difference in and among peer groups)

  • Preliminary survey on spectrum of prevention in Iowa’s schools around gender violence and bullying yielded the following:

    • Systemic, sexual violence prevention strategies are non-existent (only 12-14 secondary school districts taking explicit steps to address this -  we need more school involvement)

    • “Taboo Topic”  (and, we need to begin talking more explicitly about the impact of porn on the brain of young boys)

    • Connection between preventing bullying behaviors in elementary school populations and decreasing incidents of sexualized violence and abuse among secondary school and college populations.

    • Attitude of “wait and work it out when it happens” mentality on gender violence persists among secondary school administration.

    • PreK-12 policies are void of “teen dating violence” “sexual assault” language – information for victims is difficult to navigate (this is where colleges were 5-10 years ago

  • Utilize the Spectrum of Prevention (public health) model to teach and inform PreK-16 partners and community stakeholders in supporting safe communities and health relationships.