The Safe Campus Initiative grew out of the work by the Auraria Healthy Relations Coalition. The coalition was an informal coalition of individuals and organizations from the three schools on the Auraria campus: the University of Colorado Denver (UCD), Metropolitan State College of Denver, and the Community College of Denver (CCD). The purpose of AHRC was to develop campus based responses to domestic violence and sexual assault. Under the guidance of the Center on Domestic Violence, AHRC won the DOJ award to create a staffed office on campus to work exclusively on issues of interpersonal violence.
Auraria is the largest campus in Colorado with more than 44,000 students, faculty and staff. One of the big challenges at Auraria is the structure. With three institutions that have separate administrations sharing facilities, it can lead to a lack of coordination in policies on intimate partner violence and problems with delivering an effective response when an incident occurs.
While available data do not suggest that there is an acute problem with intimate partner violence on the campus, few services exist for training the staff and none exist on campus for providing services to victims. According to the U.S. Department of Justice:
- There are more than 27 incidents of rape for every 1,000 female college students
- This would suggest that 675 incidents of sexual violence are occurring against female students from the Auraria campus annually.
- At a screening event on the Auraria campus last year, 10% of the 1000 participants reported having been “hit, kicked or punched” in their current or most recent relationship and 5% said they had experienced sexual violence.