UNM gets aggressive in dealing with sexual assault cases

Created: 04/24/2014 10:13 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Lawmakers and a White House Task Force on Sexual Assault are working on recommendations to crack down on sexual assault on college campuses. The University of New Mexico’s Sexual Assault Response Team says they welcome guidance, but they aren’t just waiting for something official to come down; they’re aggressively attacking problems on their own.

Since UNM introduced SART, they’ve made things easier for students reporting sexual assault.

“From where I've been involved as an advocate, I think that students who are reporting sexual assault are getting to resources must faster... in a much more comprehensive way,” SART co-chair and Women’s Resource Center Director Summer Little said.

Little’s groups and others on campus have been actively working to spread the word about preventing sexual assault, and what resources are available for victims of it.

“Domestic violence, dating violence and stalking are actually all part of what we need to be looking at. It's actually bigger than just sexual assault - more sexual violence on campus,” Little said.

As a result, more students are coming forward to speak up about sexual assault.

“I think we are going to see an increase in reports this year.  I would like to remind everyone that doesn't mean we have more of a problem on campus - we wanted to see this happen. We know sexual assault is happening, we want to see more reports because that enables us to get services to the people who need them,” Little said.

Currently, SART is busy. The campus sexual assault policy is under review, the grievance policy has been revised, they’ve instituted a student conduct committee, and they’ve discussed possible online training for students on preventing sexual assault.

Federal programs, resources and guidance will come in the weeks and months ahead, but until then, UNM will continue working to stop sexual assault from happening on its own.

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