Academics and Research

Psychology professor recognized by SafeHouse for her work in the community

On campus, Anne DePrince is a professor and chair in the psychology department and serves as director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, which coordinates the University’s public-good work.

But her work with the community doesn’t stop there. DePrince works with a number of local victim service agencies to do research and share findings. In collaboration with SafeHouse Denver and other Denver-area agencies, DePrince examined the impact of community-coordinated responses to domestic violence. Working with a team of undergraduate and graduate research assistants, DePrince investigated what happens when victim advocates from SafeHouse and other agencies reach out to women to offer services following reports of domestic violence to police. The research found that outreach has a positive impact on women’s well-being and criminal justice outcomes.

In recognition of her work with domestic violence victims, DePrince will receive the Carolyn Hamil-Henderson Memorial award from SafeHouse Denver on Oct. 17.

“Anne’s research has been a guiding and validating force for our service delivery at SafeHouse Denver and has directly benefited the adults, children and youth that we serve,” says Victoria McVicker, CEO of SafeHouse.

DePrince’s work spans the spectrum of trauma and violence, from revictimization risk following child abuse to finding ways to improve traditional cognitive behavioral therapy. Each study she develops, she says, is informed by her work in the Denver community. “I am able to talk to partner organizations about the issues that are central to them so that we can find ways to use research effectively,” she says. “By understanding the bigger picture from the community, I am able to bring the best of our research to them.”

Currently, much of DePrince’s research emphasizes community-coordinated responses. “There is a push in Denver for multiple stakeholders — from criminal justice groups to victim service groups — to come together and share information to end the cycle of abuse and trauma,” she says.

DePrince’s work is gaining traction outside of Denver, too. In September, she received the Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award from Campus Compact, a national coalition of nearly 1,100 colleges and universities committed to campus-based civic engagement and the public purposes of higher education. Winners of this award advance civic learning, conduct community-based research and build institutional cultures of contributing to the public good.

DePrince has several new projects underway. With the Denver Sexual Assault Interagency Council, her team is investigating how people react to women who disclose sexual assault, looking at the impact of positive and negative reactions on survivors. Another project with Rocky Mountain Victim Law Center looks at ways to make legal services easier to access for crime victims. And as always, DePrince is supporting her research through her work in Denver.

“I am proudest of the connections that my team and I have made in the community,” she says. “Working with community partners means we get to do research that matters for solving real problems in the lives of people, and that’s what this work is really all about.”


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