Provost’s Sexual Violence Advisory Committee
Overview and Membership
The Provost’s Sexual Violence Advisory Committee (SVAC) serves to provide community input and advice to the provost on matters pertaining to education, training, and other preventive measures; reporting; policies and procedures; and community engagement. The SVAC shall not have responsibility for, or advise on, the investigation or adjudication of specific cases and incidents or day-to-day operations. The SVAC will be supported and informed by an operations group from student affairs, institutional equity, security, and general counsel, and other offices as necessary, who will provide information on current university policies, practices, and programs and assist with the development of benchmarking information.
The SVAC is composed of interested individuals who are appointed by the provost. It is broadly representative of the university community, with students, faculty, and staff from throughout the various schools. Initial appointments to the SVAC are for two years and members can be re-appointed. Students must be currently enrolled at the university to serve on the SVAC.
Advisory Committee Composition
Michele Decker, ScD, MPH, Associate Professor, Bloomberg School of Public Health (Co-chair)
Norma Day-Vines, PhD, Professor, School of Education
Sri Sarma, Associate Professor, Institute for Computational Medicine
Todd Shepard, PhD, Associate Professor, Krieger School of Arts & Sciences
The purpose of the SVAC is to provide input on ongoing university efforts related to sexual violence and recommend strategies to enhance the university’s policies, practices and programs. The SVAC can also serve as a forum for community engagement and constituency feedback. Members of the group are charged with sharing information that will assist the university with its ongoing efforts to:
- enrich and expand the university’s sexual violence education and prevention efforts;
- educate the university community about recognizing and reporting incidents of sexual violence;
- enhance support and advocacy for survivors of sexual violence;
- ensure a fair and balanced process for responding to incidents, concerns and complaints;
- strengthen the culture of inclusion and safety at Johns Hopkins, including the impact of violence, gender roles, alcohol and other drugs, and social norms.
Education and Training. A key to prevention is education. Importantly, prevention is promoted through education and training programs that focus on proactively ending sexual violence. Central educational concepts include: promoting healthy relationships, the meaning of consent, bystander intervention, and recognizing and reporting sexual violence.
Safety and Security Measures. Other preventive measures include assessing the safety of the physical environment: the security of facilities; facilitating regular training for students, staff, and faculty; and assuring wide-spread distribution and publication of security information for all the university’s locations.
Reporting. Fostering a climate that encourages the reporting of incidents by individuals who have been victims of sexual violence is crucial. Non-reporting and underreporting of incidents understates the problem and undermines prevention efforts. Reporting should be facilitated by providing for direct reporting, access to confidential resources, and anonymous reporting. The options, internal and external, for reporting an incident of sexual violence should be clear, explicit and widely disseminated.
Policies and Procedures.Policies and procedures must be clear, understandable, fair, balanced , accurate, widely disseminated, and readily accessible to all members of the university community (e.g., policies and procedures should be publicized through a multimedia approach that includes press releases, brochures, posters, and Web-based messages as well as other methods that may be identified).
Communication and Engagement: Regular communication to and engagement with the university community are crucial to the university’s efforts in addressing this issue.