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UWPD to launch resource for students dealing with sexual assault

Published On: Jul 09 2014 05:13:57 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 09 2014 08:32:02 PM CDT

Sexual assaults are going unreported on college campuses across the country, and a new study shows not enough students are educated about the seriousness of the incidents.

MADISON, Wis. -

Sexual assaults are going unreported on college campuses across the country, and a new study shows not enough students are educated about the seriousness of the incidents.

The study says that 20 percent of college women, or 1 in 5, experience sexual assault while in school.

In 2013 there were only 32 reported cases of sexual assault on the University of Wisconsin-Madison's campus. Official said those numbers don't add up, and they have to make a change.

"The new thing we are doing is trying to be pro-active and reaching out to students. And if something happens to them, they know it's OK to reach out to us," UW police spokesperson Marc Lovicott said.

To help find solutions to the problem of unreported sexual assaults, UW police are launching a "Tell Us" campaign aimed to be a resource for students.

They held a small group discussion Wednesday afternoon to talk with students about how to deal with the serious issues, which is part of a national problem.

"Your chances are 1 in 3 if you have been assaulted on a college campus, and you go to campus law enforcement, your chances are 1 out of 3 that the person you talk to has never had the basic training on how to conduct that interview," U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri said.

McCaskill plans to introduce a bipartisan bill later this summer to deal with sexual assault problems on college campuses.

The Missouri Democrat sent surveys to 440 colleges and universities to find out how they report, investigate and prosecute campus sexual assaults. She found that one-third of schools do not train students about sexual assault, and that 1 in 5 do not provide sexual assault training for faculty and staff members.

McCaskill's report said colleges and universities are failing to comply with the law and best practices in handling sexual violence on campus.

Lovicott said he feels there are many great resources in place at UW and the campus police are trained very well in handling these issues.

About 10 students attended the brainstorming session Wednesday to talk about ways to increase exposure for the police department’s new campaign, including posters, buttons and bus ads, Lovicott said. A full launch is scheduled for the end of August, when students move into the residence halls.

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