A new position on campus aims to provide support and resources to students who find themselves victims of crimes or other traumatic events.
Anna Brennan is embedded in the CU Police Department while rostered in the Office of Victim Assistance (OVA). In her position, which started in June 2021, Anna offers “in-the-moment emotional support for people impacted by traumatic experiences,” even responding onscene after an incident. From there, she can work with officers and victims, providing an empathetic ear, informing victims of their rights and connecting them to OVA and other community resources for longer-term support.
Anna Brennan, left, interacts with students visiting the Office of Victim Assistance Table during Fall 2021 Move-In. (Photo provided)
Brennan can help students as well as any community member on campus and expects to respond to situations like sexual assault; domestic violence or stalking; bias or harrassment complaints; and serious accidents. Her unique position provides a bridge to increase collaboration and resolution of cases, and is a great fit for Brennan, who holds a master's degree in social work from Metropolitan State University in Denver.
Prior to coming to CU Boulder, Brennan worked as a legal advocate with the Boulder Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence (SPAN), where she supported victims of domestic abuse as they navigated the civil and criminal legal system, among other roles. She’s dedicated to supporting the needs of those who’ve experienced trauma.
Brennan sees many benefits to the immediacy of her response, including working with officers to assess the victim’s safety. For example, if the perpetrator was not arrested and could return to the scene, she can work with the officer to walk through the creation of a safety plan.
“It’s about having more resources to support victims and survivors,” Brennan said.
Additionally, she can refer to OVA counselors who provide ongoing support. While Brennan does not have confidentiality—meaning information provided to her by victims or survivors of crime will be provided to CUPD for further investigation—OVA counselors are confidential.
“It’s so important for them to be informed about their options,” Brennan added.