The Center for Research on Ending Violence at Rutgers University–New Brunswick is redefining its mission of a violence-free future with a new name and expanded focus.
“While violence against women and children is pervasive in our society, so is violence against men and boys, against specific racial and ethnic groups, against the LGBTQ+ community, against gender nonbinary individuals, and many others,” said Sarah McMahon, an associate professor at the Rutgers School of Social Work and center director. “We are examining larger systemic elements and are encouraged to work on significant collaborations to end all forms of violence.”
Formerly the Center on Violence Against Women and Children, the wider focus provides more opportunities to partner with other university faculty and beyond to understand different types of violence, prevention and response practices, and how various forms of structural oppression and harm are connected.
The center has been working outside its former priority area for some time. McMahon and other faculty are on the last phase of a project funded by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General to continue to build Rutgers’ infrastructure and use the university as a model of how to provide campus-based services to students to address instances of violence. During this time, the center will evaluate the university’s model for addressing interpersonal violence and, by working with University Equity and Inclusion, ensure anti-racist frameworks are infused throughout.
Current center research projects include learning how communities work together to prevent and address domestic violence and sexual assault; how bystander intervention can decrease campus interpersonal violence; creating relational resources to better prevent Latino victims of teen dating violence; and collaborating with National Institute of Justice scientists to identify critical gaps in knowledge about intimate partner violence, sexual violence, stalking and teen dating violence.
“Over the years it has become clear the center has grown in important ways that were not necessarily reflected in its initial name,” said McMahon. “While suited for our work at the time, the center has shifted with the field of interpersonal violence. Our research, education and community engagement have often spanned outside the scope of ‘violence against women and children.’ This is still a priority area, but our work includes many other things.”
Vicki Banyard, the center’s associate director, added: “The Center for Research on Ending Violence is a name that encourages a call-to-action for ourselves and others. It reflects the recognition that violence can happen to all people and all communities. It keeps us centered on where we’re going: ending violence."
Considering a more aligned name for the center’s research became a strategic priority in 2019. Staff at the Center for Research on Ending Violence engaged in a thoughtful and rigorous process, with external help that involved gathering feedback from many internal and external partners and organizing focus groups and surveys.
Founded in 2007 at the Rutgers School of Social Work, the Center for Research on Ending Violence maintains its longstanding mission to strive to eliminate physical, sexual and other forms of violence against all individuals and the power imbalances that permit them. The center is a productive academic research center dedicated to generating new knowledge through sound, ethical research. From the knowledge generated, the center has produced professional training opportunities, technical assistance resources and specialized learning for future social workers and other professionals, with a focus on multidisciplinary research, education and community engagement.