Peer Advocates: West Virginia University Offers For-Credit Class in Sexual Assault Counseling

wvuAs an extension of the It’s On Us bystander intervention program to reduce sexual assault on campus, West Virginia University has established the Peer Advocates initiative. The university’s Center for Service and Learning and the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion developed a three-credit course designed to train students to educate other members of the student body on sexual assault prevention and responses protocols for sexual assault victims.

McConnellSo far, 51 student Peer Advocates have been trained in medical, legal, and judicial counseling and in response protocols when a sexual assault has occurred or has been alleged. Joyce McConnell, provost at West Virginia University, spearheaded the effort to make the Peer Advocates a for-credit course. “The students who commit to being Peer Advocates devote tremendous time and energy to helping other students — strangers — through unbelievably difficult experiences,” Dr. McConnell said. “The class framework underscores the importance of this work, allowing students to earn academic credit and putting advocacy training in the context of professionalization and service learning, which is where it truly belongs.”

Below is a short video on the Peer Advocates program.

Filed Under: Sexual Assault/Harassment


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