UNI center leads the way in violence prevention

The University of Northern Iowa's Center for Violence Prevention (CVP) is gaining national attention for its work with Iowa high schools, community colleges and universities to train Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP). The program focuses on training bystanders on how to recognize bullying, harassment or abuse and how to safely intervene. Now recognized as a leader in the field, the CVP is hosting "Train the Trainer" training Feb. 26-27.

Training photo"Focusing on young men and women not as potential perpetrators or victims, but as empowered bystanders can motivate them to play a central role in solving problems that have historically been considered 'women’s issues' -  rape, relationship abuse, sexual assault and harassment," said Alan Heisterkamp, director of the MVP Leadership Institute at UNI's CVP.

To date, the CVP has implemented MVP training at more than 30 Iowa high schools, community colleges and universities as well as worked with campus ROTC cadets at UNI, Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Dubuque.

Heisterkamp says students are the most successful in changing peer attitudes, which is why the MVP Institute is working to develop a core group of bystander trainers across the state. "This will hopefully lead to safer high schools, community colleges and university campuses in Iowa."

Did You Know?

An Executive Order signed by Gov. Terry Branstad in September 2015 named UNI's Center for Violence Prevention as the new home for the Governor's Office for Bullying Prevention.