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Stricter Campus Policies Needed.

Adults are more likely to rank legislation requiring universities and colleges to impose stricter penalties as the most-effective initiative to lower campus sexual assault rates, according to a study conducted by the National Sexual Vidence Resource Center, Harrisburg, Pa., and YouGov, London, UK, which examines adults' views on the causes of campus sexual assault and potential solutions.

Adults are more likely to identify campus culture--including heavy drinking (59%), casual hook-up attitudes (43%), and fraternities and sororities (42%)--among the top five causes of sexual assault on campus. Adults age 55 and over are even more likely to select social factors overall as the source of the problem. Seventy-two percent cite heavy drinking among the top five factors that leads to assault; 52%, hook-up culture; and 50%, fraternities and sororities.

Fears of reporting--including victims worried they will be blamed (40%) and victims feeling pressure not to report (39%) also rank among the top five factors contributing to sexual assault.

"It is encouraging to see that adults recognize the challenges victims face when it comes to reporting campus sexual assault," says Delilah Rumburg, CEO of NSVRC. "The reality is that 90% of sexual assault cases on college campuses are never reported, underscoring that more work must be done to create campus cultures where victims are no longer silenced and perpetrators are held responsible for their behavior."

Despite identifying the campus culture as the primary driver for campus sexual assault, adults (41%) were more likely to rank "legislation that requires colleges and universities to have stricter penalties for sexual assault through campus policies and procedures" among the most-effective approaches to decreasing campus sexual assault.

"More than 50% of college sexual assaults occur during the beginning of the academic school year, and this survey sheds light on the fact that many adults look to our institutions to foster a safe campus community and strengthen systemic responses to sexual assault," stresses Rumburg. "All universities should continue to identify and implement solutions to ensure a campus culture free from sexual violence in all its forms."

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Title Annotation:SEXUAL ASSAULT
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2017
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