Justice and Gender Based Violence Research Initiative
April Pattavina, Ph.D. co-founded the Justice and Gender-Based Violence Research Initiative (JGBVR) at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) along with Linda M. Williams, Ph.D. in the fall of 2015. As a senior scholar at WCW, Dr. Pattavina continues her collaboration with the JGBVR. She serves as Associate Professor and Interim Chair of the School of Criminology and Justice Studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is currently co-principal investigator of the Wellesley-based National Institute for Justice (NIJ) research award: Responding to sexual assault on campus: A national assessment and systematic classification of the scope and challenges for investigation and adjudication (RSACC) and Decision-making in sexual assault cases: Multi-site replication research on sexual violence case attrition in the U.S.
Dr. Pattavina’s research focuses on the justice system response to sexual violence; intimate partner violence; gendered pathways to criminal offending and rehabilitation; racial and gender disparities in the criminal justice system; alternatives to incarceration that consider ties to families, communities and support networks; program evaluation, and the application of technological innovation to support behavioral change.
Funding for Dr. Pattavina’s work has come from federal agencies including the National Institute of Justice, The Bureau of Justice Assistance, and The Department of Housing and Urban Development. Her work has also been supported by the Boston Foundation as well as local criminal justice agencies.
Nan Stein, Ph.D. is a senior research scientist at WCW. She is a nationally known expert on sexual harassment and gender violence in education, and her expertise has been recognized in both legal circles and in the research arena. Dr. Stein is co-author of Shifting Boundaries an evidence-based situational prevention strategy, originally developed to reduce sexual and dating violence in middle schools, and has been involved in its adaptation to address campus sexual assault prevention at colleges and universities. She is currently a co-investigator of the Wellesley-based National Institute for Justice (NIJ) research award: Responding to sexual assault on campus: A national assessment and systematic classification of the scope and challenges for investigation and adjudication (RSACC).
Dr. Stein’s extensive career and details of her work can be found on her Read Nan Stein's Full Bio
Alison C. Cares, Ph.D. is a visiting scholar at Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) and works in collaboration with the Justice and Gender Based Violence Research Initiative. She is co-investigator on Responding to sexual assault on campus: A national assessment and systematic classification of the scope and challenges for investigation and adjudication (RSACC). Dr. Cares is an associate professor of Sociology and affiliate of the Violence Against Women Cluster at the University of Central Florida. She has worked in the field of violence against women for the past 20 years, first in community outreach and education for a sexual assault and domestic violence services agency, and then as a researcher. Her current research focuses on campus crime and victimization, particularly sexual violence.
She has served as PI, Co-PI, or Co-Investigator on numerous funded research projects. These projects include a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded two campus experimental evaluation of a primary prevention program for sexual assault, Bringing in the Bystander®, in partnership with Dr. Linda Williams and colleagues at the University of New Hampshire. As part of a team at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Dr. Cares helped lead a U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime collaborative project to integrate crime victims’ issues into college and university curricula. She recently completed a National Institute of Justice funded secondary data analysis of the National Violence Against Women Survey (NVAWS) examining patterns of repeat and multiple victimization. Her current work with WCW focusses on a National Institute of Justice funded initiative examining the investigation and adjudication of campus sexual assault cases.
Dr. Cares regularly works in partnership with campus, local, state, and national collaborative groups of practitioners and policymakers to insure her work will help to improve the lives of victims. This has included serving on the Massachusetts Higher Education Working Group of the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual and Domestic Violence, Connecticut Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee, and National Sexual Assault Awareness Month Advisory Committee for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. She also serves on multiple committees responsible for the response to sexual assault on her home campus at Assumption College.
Dr. Cares earned her Ph.D. in Sociology and M.A. in Crime, Law, and Justice from The Pennsylvania State University and has published many scholarly articles on violence against women.
Stephanie Block, Ph.D. is assistant professor at UMass Lowell in the psychology department and a collaborator with the JGBVR initiative. The primary collaboration with the JGBVR initiative is on her NIJ-funded award: The prosecution of child sexual abuse: A partnership to improve outcomes. Drs. Block and Williams are also collaborating on work on memory of childhood trauma and adolescent transitions to adulthood. Trained as a developmental psychologist, Dr. Block’s research has broadly focused on children in the legal system and child sexual abuse. Guided by a social-ecological perspective and interdisciplinary training, she conducts research that generates knowledge and informs public policy relevant to children in the child welfare and legal systems. She has worked at the Center for Public Policy Research (funded by the State of California) and conducted research and wrote policy reports about children’s experiences in court. She has extensive research experience with record review (e.g., a longitudinal follow- up of children who had been involved in the child welfare and legal system) and have collected data focused on the memory abilities (and susceptibility to false memory) in child victims of sexual abuse through a partnership with a local Children’s Advocacy Center. Dr. Block’s current research examines case attrition in child sexual abuse cases and works with community partners at 4 District Attorney’s offices with the goal of increasing access to justice for victims and identifying best practices for successful prosecution of perpetrators. Dr. Block is also a trained Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and has conducted trainings with both prosecution and defense attorneys on children’s memory, disclosures of abuse, suggestibility, and eyewitness testimony. Dr Block is co-founder of The UMass Lowell Navigators Club, an organization made up of students, faculty & staff members dedicated to advocating and providing for the needs of students who have followed a less traditional path to college and who are in need of additional support. This includes students who are/were in foster care, first-generation college students, international students, transfer students, student veterans, students in the LBGTQ community and students otherwise living independently.
Melissa S. Morabito, Ph.D. is associate professor at UMass Lowell in the School of Criminology and Justice Studies and a collaborator with the JGBVR initiative. The primary collaboration with the JGBVR initiative is on the NIJ-funded Decision-making in sexual assault cases: Multi-site replication research on sexual violence case attrition in the U.S.
Dr. Morabito has extensive experience working with police departments primarily in the area of police innovations with a special emphasis on public health issues such as mental illness and domestic violence. She has participated in research on women in policing and worked with the Boston Police Department as the PI on a National Institute of Justice grant to reliably forecast crime. Works based on all of these projects as well as general police innovations have been published on Crime & Delinquency and in Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management among other journals.
Judith Jackson-Pomeroy, Ph.D. is a scholar of feminist theory & women’s studies working in collaboration with Dr. Linda Williams at the Justice and Gender Based Violence Research Initiative. Dr. Pomeroy began her research work on sexual violence against women in 1989 at the Family Research Laboratory/University of New Hampshire, where she worked on several projects with Dr. Linda Williams until 1994, and earned her PhD there in 1998. She has been teaching theory & women’s studies at various universities since that time, and was chair of the Women’s Studies Program at California Lutheran University from 1999-2002. Dr. Pomeroy has presented widely at professional conferences, and her work appears in books and professional journals.