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Consortium Core Faculty

The Rutgers Violence Against Women Consortium has assembled a team of 13 core faculty with expertise in the priority areas of sexual violence, intimate partner violence, teen dating violence and stalking. The consortium will draw upon the exceptional skills of core faculty and will also tap into their wide, diverse networks to help develop the most rigorous research projects assigned by NIJ. Together, the core faculty make a strong team, working together synergistically to develop, implement, and disseminate innovative research in collaboration with NIJ. 


Noel Busch-Armendariz, PhD

Noel Busch-Armendariz is a Professor at University of Texas at Austin’s School of Social Work. Her areas of expertise and research are human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual assault and campus sexual assault, and international social work. Busch-Armendariz is the director of the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (IDVSA), a collaboration of the UT Austin Schools of Social Work, Nursing, Law and the Bureau for Business Research. During her tenure at UT, she has directed over 50 research and training projects totaling more than $8.3 million in external funding. Recent funding includes a project funded by the Texas Office of the Governor titled “Statewide Human Trafficking Mapping Project for Texas” and another project funded by The University of Texas Systems titled “Cultivating Learning and Safe Environments (CLASE).” Additional funding sources include the National Institute of Justice, the Office for Victims of Crime, the Office on Violence Against Women, Office of the Attorney General of Texas, the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, the Texas Health and Human Services. Busch-Armendariz’s extensive research background in issues of violence against women, as well as her large network through the IDVSA, will provide a strong asset to the proposed Consortium.

Rose Corrigan, PhD

Rose Corrigan is an Associate Professor at Drexel University and has been conducting research on sexual violence for fifteen years, primarily on policy responses to sexual assault. Corrigan’s book project (Up Against a Wall, published by NYU Press in 2013) was based on interviews with rape care advocates in six states. In that research, she examined how policy initiatives such as sexual assault nurse examiner programs, mandating provision of emergency contraception in emergency rooms for sexual assault victims, and sex offender registration and notification programs had changed community responses to rape. Corrigan serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of the National Clearinghouse for Defense of Battered Women, which advocates for battered women accused of a range of criminal offenses related to their experiences of intimate partner violence. Corrigan also sat for several years on the Pennsylvania Prison Society’s Sex Offender Subcommittee, which examined criminal justice policies and practices related to sentencing, incarceration, and release of individuals convicted of sex crimes. These community activities keep Corrigan connected to activists, practitioners, and others who work with individuals who experience and who perpetrate acts of violence. Corrigan’s strong foundation of work on the role of the criminal justice system related to issues of violence against women will provide an important area of expertise for the proposed Consortium.

Meredith Dank, PhD

Meredith Dank is a Research Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Her areas of focus include the commercial sex economy, human trafficking, teen dating violence, LGBTQ issues, victimization, and qualitative methods. She served as principal investigator on several human trafficking studies funded by the Department of Justice, including a study that measured the underground commercial sex economy in the United States, and another that documented the experiences of LGBTQ youth, young men who have sex with men and young women who have sex with women engaged in survival sex and their interactions with the criminal justice system. An expert in human trafficking, Dr. Dank has conducted research in over ten countries and took part in a White House stakeholder meeting on services for survivors. Her work particularly in TDV, working with LGBTQ youth, and research methodologies for accessing difficult-to-reach populations will offer key expertise for the Consortium.

Rebecca Dreke, MSW

Rebecca Dreke is currently the Director of Training & Technical Assistance at the Stalking Resource Center (SRC) at the National Center for Victims of Crime. Dreke is a trainer on crime victim rights, technical assistance provider and manager of a nationally recognized program on stalking. She has over 15 years of experience working on stalking, intimate partner violence and sexual assault advocacy. As a director at the SRC, Dreke oversees a nationally recognized program on stalking, develops original curriculum and provides training for law enforcement, prosecutors, victim service providers and criminal and civil justice professionals as well as other specialists on all aspects of stalking, including the use of technology to stalk, campus stalking and stalking and sexual assault. Dreke also has authored publications for the field on stalking support groups, model campus policies to address stalking, methodology of stalking measurement, and guides for advocates. Dreke’s extensive background in the field of stalking provide an invaluable asset to the Consortium team, as well as her perspective as a practitioner and access to networks involved in the field of stalking.

Yasemin Irvin-Erickson, PhD

Yasemin Irvin-Erickson Dr. Yasemin Irvin-Erickson is Assistant Professor of Criminology, Law and Society at George Mason University, and a Fellow at the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center. Her research focuses on crime prevention and social protection through the lens of inclusive growth and sustainable development. Irvin-Erickson directs projects on economic resilience of women and girls, refugees, and geographies disproportionately affected by violent crimes. She is also an associate editor for Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal. Before joining Urban, Irvin-Erickson was the research director for global mapping at Rutgers Center on Public Security and a lecturer at Rutgers University–Newark, where she taught crime analysis, statistics, and research methods. Her research has been presented at national and international conferences and appeared in peer-reviewed publications and research briefs. Irvin-Erickson earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Middle East Technical University, a master’s degree in forensic science from Istanbul University Institute of Forensic Sciences, and a doctorate degree in criminal justice from Rutgers School of Criminal Justice.

Sarah McMahon, PhD, MSW 

Sarah McMahon, Co-Primary Investigator, is an Associate Professor at the Rutgers University School of Social Work and also serves as the Associate Director for the School’s Center on Violence Against Women and Children. Her research focuses on violence against women and children, with an emphasis on prevention and social change.  Dr. McMahon has extensive experience in designing and implementing studies with college students to measure their knowledge, attitudes and behaviors related to sexual violence, with a focus on bystander intervention. In 2014, she was invited to collaborate with the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault through the testing of a campus climate survey tool.  She was also appointed by the Governor of NJ to serve on the state’s Task Force to Address Campus Sexual Violence and also serves on the National Sexual Violence Resource Center Advisory Board.  She has numerous publications on the topic of sexual violence and has presented her work around the country. Dr. McMahon also serves as the Chair of the NJ Domestic Violence Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board.  Prior to her position at the School of Social Work, Dr. McMahon worked in a clinical setting, providing crisis intervention and counseling to survivors of various forms of interpersonal violence and delivering prevention education to the wider community.

Debra Patterson, PhD, MA, LMSW

Debra Patterson is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Wayne State University. She holds a Ph.D. in community psychology with a concentration in organizational and social change from Michigan State University. Her research examines sexual assault victims/survivors’ barriers to help-seeking; culturally specific trauma-informed services; sexual assault nurse examiner programs; and improving professional and familial responses towards survivors of sexual and interpersonal violence. Her research also focuses on training attrition, knowledge attainment and retention, competency development. She has been working in the violence against women field since 1996 and is the former director of a rape crisis center in Southeast Michigan.

Andy Peterson, PhD

N. Andrew Peterson is a Professor with the School of Social Work at Rutgers University. He earned his Ph.D. in Community Psychology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1998. His research examines the mechanisms through which community organizations promote empowerment and community change. His work also focuses on preventing community-level problems (e.g., tobacco outlet density, alcohol outlet density, density of vacant and abandoned housing, etc.) that contribute to social and health disparities. He currently serves as Principal Investigator of a study funded by the New Jersey Division of Mental Health & Addiction Services to evaluate the implementation of a new statewide prevention infrastructure that identifies communities based on epidemiological analyses and implements evidence-based and culturally-competent prevention strategies.

Judy Postmus, PhD 

Judy L. Postmus, Primary Investigator, is a Professor at the School of Social Work, Rutgers University and is founder and director of the Center on Violence Against Women & Children. Her research is on physical, sexual, and economic victimization experiences of women with her most recent attention given to understanding how an economic empowerment curriculum improves fiscal and mental health functioning of domestic violence survivors.  Dr. Postmus has given many local, national, and international presentations on the impact of policies and interventions on survivors of violence. Her work is strongly influenced from her 20 years as a practitioner and administrator.

Elithet Silva-Martinez, PhD

Elithet (Eli) Silva-Martinez is an Assistant Professor at the University of Puerto Rico. In the last fifteen years, Silva-Martinez has focused her work on understanding the multiple dimensions of violence against women, especially intimate partner violence (IPV), among women from Latin America and the Caribbean. Her experience as a social worker in direct practice with survivors of IPV in the United States, Mexico and Puerto Rico has allowed her to learn of the dynamics around IPV. From 2007-2009, Silva-Martinez served as a Project Coordinator at the Domestic Violence Intervention Program, for the Office of Violence Against Women Grant to Reduce Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking on Campus Program at the University of Iowa. Silva-Martinez has also worked extensively with immigrant communities in the United States and Puerto Rico, which has allowed me to develop knowledge and skills to work directly with vulnerable populations, especially Spanish-speaking women. Among her many skills, Silva-Martinez offers the Consortium a rich background in cultural competency and qualitative interviewing with women from Spanish-speaking backgrounds.

Leila Wood, PhD, LMSW

Leila Wood is a Research Assistant Professor at the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (IDVSA) at The University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work. Dr. Wood has three degrees (BSW, MSSW and PhD) in Social Work. Her scholarship areas are intimate and interpersonal violence in the campus context, intimate partner violence and sexual assault service evaluation, and occupational stress related to interpersonal violence work. Wood’s research focuses on survivor-centered approaches and establishing evidence for community and campus-based practices in the intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual assault (SA) field, including housing programs. 

Janine Zweig, PhD

Janine Zweig is a Senior Fellow in the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute. She conducts both basic research and evaluations related to sexual violence and victimization, IPV and TDV, substance use, criminal justice policies, and adolescent and young adult development. She has examined issues around bridging the gap between research and practice in victim services; the role of sexual assault kit evidence and case characteristics in case processing and outcomes; payment mechanisms for sexual assault medical forensic exams and whether jurisdictions provide such exams to victims free-of-charge and without requiring reports to law enforcement, as per VAWA 2005; the effectiveness of community-based DV and SA services; the effectiveness of community collaboration among law enforcement, prosecution, victim services, and healthcare providers in addressing DV and SA; and services for victims of sexual violence during incarceration in jails, prisons, and juvenile facilities. Zweig’s expertise in both content and methodology and her connection to the Urban Institute offer a strong component to the Consortium.

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