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UW: Education Efforts Help Spur Increase in Sexual Assault Reports

U.W. CAMPUS SIGN
Adam Porter/Townsquare Media

The University of Wyoming’s efforts to encourage reporting of sexual misconduct likely have resulted in an increase in such reports, campus safety officials say. According to a news release, the UW Police Department received 15 reports of sexual assault in 2013, up from five in 2012 and seven in 2011.

Police Chief Mike Samp told the UW Board of Trustees on Thursday that the “more reporting options we provide to students, the more reports we’re going to receive.”  He added that he expects they “will continue to see an increase in reporting, as the university has increased its education and support for students, along with prevention efforts.”

Samp noted that federal statistics show one in five female college students is sexually assaulted, and that only 12 percent of victims report the assaults. There’s little reason to think the situation at UW differs significantly from the rest of the country.

Megan Selheim, coordinator of UW’s STOP Violence Program, which provides support and information to the university community regarding sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking, says the number of students seeking services through the STOP Violence Program since it began three years ago has more than doubled. In the current academic year, the number is about 40. There’s no way to know for sure, but she highly doubts that the figures represent a trend of more sexual assaults — instead, it’s a matter of awareness.

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