LOCK HAVEN – Dr. Gayatri Devi, assistant professor of English at Lock Haven University, recently received a $15,000 grant from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania (CRP) to study the barriers to the delivery of domestic violence services in rural counties of the state.
“I am delighted and profoundly honored to receive this grant,” Devi said. “It was a competitive process, and we were up against other top schools in the state. I am delighted that LHU received this grant.
“As an institution of higher education situated in rural PA, I and my co-researchers at Lock Haven University are uniquely qualified and prepared to study the needs of both rural domestic violence shelters, and their community partners in victims’ services delivery.”
Devi’s co-researchers in the grant include Lock Haven University’s H.O.P.E Center advisory board members: Dr. Lisette Schillig, Dr. Nicole Burkholder-Mosco, Dr. Tara Mitchell, Dr. Holle Canatella, and Dr. Katie Ely.
“Knowing the types of domestic violence center clients, services, and barriers to services is important to ensure that our domestic violence shelters are functioning at the highest level possible and making a positive difference in the lives of women, men, and children in our community,” Burkholder-Mosco said.
The CRP is a legislative agency of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. CRP funds several dedicated research projects in Rural Studies throughout the year open to all Pennsylvania university faculty.
“This opportunity is a privilege because our valuable research findings will be used to inform future policy decisions,” noted Canatella.
The winning grant proposal has to go through a competitive Letter of Intent stage and a narrative proposal with a full discussion of methodology and budget justification, letters of support, an external review by external readers, and an internal review of the proposal by the CRP Board of Directors.
Mary Jane Isenberg, immediate past Executive Director of the Clinton County Women’s Center, helped clarify the practical blueprint for the “coordinated community response and care continuum model” that is key to effective domestic violence services.
“Through Mary Jane, I was able to talk with and get strong letters of support from the Clinton County Commissioners, the Lock Haven City Police Chief, and the District Attorney’s office,” noted Devi.
“I am grateful for the strong support of all of these offices for our research project. I look forward to working with them in the spring.”
The timeline for the grant is nine months from start, and Devi and her team will commence the shelter interviews and focus groups in spring 2015.
The team’s findings will be compiled as a formal report and presented to the CRP board and the general assembly.
“Every domestic violence shelter we spoke to wholeheartedly welcomed us to study this particular topic. This shows the collective need for greater awareness of domestic violence issues, and particularly, how best to help those who need victims services. We are very grateful to the legislature for funding this research,” Devi stated.