New Task Force Aims To Stem Campus Sexual Assault In RI

Mar 30, 2015

Local leaders have announced the launch of a statewide task force to deal with sexual assaults on college campuses. The issue has been getting increased national attention in recent years.

Gov. Gina Raimondo addresses the crowd at the press conference announcing a task force to address sexual assaults on college campuses statewide.
Credit John Bender / RIPR

The task force is comprised of local law enforcement, medical professionals, and representatives from Rhode Island colleges and universities.  They’re tasked with developing new policies to better handle sexual assaults involving college students.  Often, colleges deal with sexual assault internally, and law enforcement is not involved unless a victim wishes to press charges.

Katie Byron, a Brown University Senior, said there is a need for better training to help students dealing with sexual assault.

“We need to make sure that any off-campus resources that a survivor may be accessing, including law enforcement, including medical providers, be thoroughly trained in responding to the specific needs of student survivors”

She added that, too often, even seeking help is traumatizing for people who experience sexual violence.

“We need to create a community that can provide support to survivors that are making these choices and forging their paths without forcing them to recount or possibly relive their assault in order to gain access to resources and support,” said Byron.

Brown University is one of eight schools expected to take part, including Bryant University, Salve Regina, and Rhode Island's public institutions.

According to advocacy group, Day One, some ninety percent of college sexual assaults go unreported.

The new task force will meet for the first time in mid-May.

In addition, the Providence police department announced its adding three detectives to deal specifically with sexual assault.

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