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Interpersonal Violence Response Team Training Comes to the WIU Campus as Part of Federal Grant

January 14, 2013

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MACOMB, IL – As part of a $300,000 federal grant received by Western Illinois University, those who shape the University's interpersonal violence policies are receiving training last week from a national consultant on prevention of violence against women.

WIU received the three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women in 2010 to reduce dating and domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking on campus. As part of that program, the University was required to develop a coordinated community response and an Interpersonal Violence Response Team (IVRT), comprised of campus policy makers and community partners.

Members of the IVRT received training Thursday, Jan. 10 and Friday, Jan. 11, from Mark Wynn, a retired Nashville (TN) police officer. Wynn retired as a lieutenant in the department's domestic violence division in 2001 and now serves as a lecturer and adviser to state, national and international leaders regarding domestic and sexual violence and stalking laws and policies.

Wynn said he is also a survivor of domestic violence from a stepfather, which ultimately led him to become a police officer.

"There was no police response in my situation," Wynn said. "I know there is a feeling of helplessness that you don't forget. I wanted to make sure that law enforcement kept its promise."

While Wynn was at Western, he spent the early part of the week training police officers from around the state how to better respond to domestic and sexual violence and stalking calls.

Officers from the Macomb Police Department, McDonough County Sheriff's Department and the WIU Office of Public Safety attended the sessions along with officers and officials from departments and colleges across Illinois. As part of the training sessions, Wynn discussed commonalities in cases of violence against women and indicators that violence could escalate. He also talked about officer safety when responding to domestic violence cases.

"The intent of the training is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the issues from a multi-disciplinary perspective so as to better understand the complexities and be better prepared as we work together on different approaches to addressing issues and resolving problems in order to ensure victims receive a consistent, coordinated response on and off campus," said Interpersonal Violence Prevention Project Director Janine Cavicchia.

Rape awareness programming began at WIU in the mid-1970s and the recent federal grant award has further enhanced programming on campus through the creation and implementation of the Interpersonal Violence Prevention Initiative (IVPI). Multiple educational sessions for prevention, intervention and response have been developed and are available to groups on campus.

The IVP grant partners include about two dozen WIU departments and student organizations, as well as the Western Illinois Regional Council – Community Action Agency's (WIRC-CAA) Victim Services Program, the Macomb Police Department, McDonough County State's Attorney and MDH Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.

Wynn was brought to campus through the IVPI and the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board – Executive Institute, based in Macomb, which provides training opportunities to police officers around the state.

Individuals with WIU ECOM accounts are encouraged to visit to learn more about interpersonal violence prevention and local resources.

For more information about the efforts of the IVPI on campus, visit

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations