UConn’s response to sexual violence


Security camera footage from one of UConn’s most recent sexual assault cases. (Courtesy/UConn Police Department)

Two reports were released this past week detailing the University of Connecticut’s response to sexual violence and related offenses to ensure the safety of the campus, according to UConn Today.

The first report was the Clery Security and Fire Report that UConn is required to release each year.

“It includes data about certain crimes identified by the Clery Act, including violations of the Violence Against Women Act; arrests and disciplinary referrals for drug and alcohol violations; and hate crimes reported in the previous calendar year on property the University owns or controls and on public property within or immediately adjacent to campus,” said university spokesperson Stephanie Reitz.

In 2015, UConn Police recorded 38 individual reports of sexual assault. The scope of sexual crimes ranges from groping to first-degree sexual assault, Reitz said.

UConn’s Office of Institutional Equity compiled the second report. This state-mandated report requires UConn to outline their policies and capture a wider range of data, Reitz said.

Using these two mandatory reports, UConn takes a very inclusive view on what’s included in the data, Reitz said.

“We include everything we learn about, regardless of the level of detail known to the University, regardless of when the assault is reported to have occurred, and even if the report comes from a third party (such as an RA) and we don’t have information on the victim,” Reitz said.

This approach makes UConn’s numbers seem much higher than other universities.

However, it’s important to remember that it is a part of the university’s commitment to ensure a community free of all forms of sexual violence, Reitz said.

“We want our students to know that we take these crimes very seriously, and will record and respond to them,” said Reitz.

UConn has put forth efforts in preventing sexual assault incidents, such as adopting a policy that made almost all UConn employees “required reporters.” Since the policy was enacted, the number of reports at UConn has increased, Reitz said.

Additionally, there is now more information available online, provided by the Office of Institutional Equity, to help victims of sexual assault. Victims can receive support and file reports on any incidents, Reitz said.

As another mode of prevention, UConn set up a sexual violence survey in the fall of 2015 and used the results to determine where to focus their prevention and response efforts. Eighty-two percent of students agreed that they felt safe on campus, according to the survey.

UConn works consistently to further its commitment to response and prevention of sexual assault to ensure the safety of our community, Reitz said.

Emma DeGrandi is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at emma.degrandi@uconn.edu.

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