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Shaheen Leads NH Delegation in Announcing Additional Federal Funds for Seacoast Region Organizations to Combat Sexual Harassment and Assault

**Grant follows Shaheen’s recent announcement that the Office on Violence Against Women awarded HAVEN Violence Prevention and Support Services – located in Portsmouth, Epping and Rochester – $625,00 to bolster its transitional housing services for survivors**

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), announced with U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Chris Pappas (NH-01) and Annie Kuster (NH-02) that Soteria Solutions in Durham will receive $399,994 through the OVW’s Training and Technical Assistance (TA) Initiative. Soteria Solutions is a nonprofit organization that creates programs to prevent and combat sexual harassment and violence. The funding will be used to develop strategies that strengthen the development of campus needs and planning that prevent sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, and stalking. Soteria Solutions was co-founded by Jane Stapleton and Dr. Sharyn Potter, University of New Hampshire (UNH) researchers who established the Prevention Innovations Research Center (PIRC) at UNH.

“Combatting sexual violence in our society requires training, education and resources to help stop violence before it happens, as well as empower peers, colleagues or friends to step in if they suspect someone is unsafe. Looking upstream by focusing on prevention education is essential in creating long-lasting change and eradicating violence in our communities. These federal funds will make important investments in research to develop programs to enhance safety at our schools,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’m glad to see Soteria Solutions receive this award, which will bolster their programming that enhances safety training and prevention practices at campuses throughout the region and state. As government funding legislation for next year is negotiated, I’ll keep fighting to secure funds for OVW grants that allow organizations like Soteria to continue their important work.”

“Sexual assault and harassment cause immeasurable harm, and we must do everything in our power to help prevent these crimes,” said Senator Hassan. “This grant will provide critical support to colleges and universities as they work to strengthen their efforts to reduce sexual and interpersonal violence and harassment, and I will continue to work with the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation to secure additional resources to keep students safe on campus.”    

“I will always advocate for federal funding to reduce incidents of sexual and domestic violence on college campuses and at institutions of higher education,” said Congressman Pappas. “This grant provides important funding to improve training and technical assistance programs on college campuses. We must continue to work together to reduce the trauma endured by victims of sexual and domestic abuse.” 

“The groundbreaking work of Jane Stapleton, Sharyn Potter, and the entire team at the UNH Prevention Innovations Research Center and Soteria Solutions has far-reaching impacts across both New Hampshire and the country,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “As a founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, I have been proud to champion funding for grant programs coordinated through the Office of Violence Against Women. I cannot think of a more deserving recipient of this funding than Soteria Solutions, and I look forward to seeing them continue to make tremendous strides in preventing sexual violence in our schools and workplaces.”

Jane Stapleton, MA, Soteria Solutions President said, "We are excited to work with the Office on Violence Against Women Campus Grant unit to support campus grantees in their efforts to create safe campuses. We will provide training and technical assistance to support grantees strategic planning and assessment so that they can increase their effectiveness to respond to and prevent sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, and stalking on campus. This important work aligns with Soteria’s mission to create safe and respectful living, learning and work environments."

Earlier this month, the delegation announced nearly $600,000 in federal funding through the OVW for St. Anselm College and Rivier University to invest in programs that combat campus sexual assault and boost support services for survivors. 

Throughout the pandemic, the New Hampshire congressional delegation has been working to provide more resources and services to domestic violence survivors nationwide. Senators Shaheen and Hassan have called on Congressional leadership multiple times to include additional funding to support the victims of family violence, domestic violence and dating violence in the fourth COVID-19 legislative package. In addition, last month, Shaheen and Hassan introduced the Lori Jackson Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act, strongly-supported bicameral legislation to protect domestic violence survivors from gun violence.

Senator Shaheen has led efforts in the Senate to establish basic rights and protections for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Her bill, the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act, was signed into law in 2016 and created the first federally codified rights specifically for sexual assault survivors and for the first time allowed survivors the opportunity to enforce those rights in federal court. Last year, Shaheen introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Survivors’ Bill of Rights in the States Act to build on the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act by incentivizing states to pass legislation that guarantees the survivors rights included in the federal legislation. For the third year in a row, Senator Shaheen – Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the OVW – successfully added the highest funding amount ever for Violence Against Women Act programs in the fiscal year (FY) 2020 government funding.