Report issued on steps to prevent sexual assault at college campuses

Eau Claire, WI (WEAU) -- The federal government is taking new steps to fight sexual assault on college campuses.

Launching the website NotAlone.gov is one of several measures the White House is using to urge universities to do more about campus sex crime.

The Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault was formed in January by President Obama and is spotlighting an issue that has gained widespread notice in the past few years.

Locally, steps are being taken to both, prevent sexual assault and to help survivors.

Joseph Abhold, Dean of Students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, says, " It's an issue we're taking very seriously, that we're not hiding from or trying to say that's it's not an issue. In fact, sexual assault is a national issue and it's a national issue that hasn't gotten enough attention for a long time and I think this report is one step in helping us really bring that attention to it."

Abhold is a firm believer in sexual assault prevention and takes steps to try and ensure students have the resources they need when dealing with sexual assault.

Abhold says, " We take a number of steps to prevent sexual assault. We do training with students through orientation throughout their time here, we provide bystander intervention training. We have poster campaigns; we do training to help people help their friends and we also provide students with information about what to do if they should be a victim of that crime."

The new website is aimed at doing nationally just what Abhold is trying to do locally, give victims the support they need.;

The website provides information on victim rights, how to file a complaint, as well as resources on how to respond to and prevent sexual assault.

Amanda Leiknes, the Victims Services Coordinator at the Center for Awareness for Sexual Assault, believes this report will be beneficial.

Leiknes says, "I think anything that we can do to get awareness out about the problem to get a proper more responsible response to it, and have clear cut steps that should be taken, it's all for the better for the victims. It will only serve to benefit the victims and to educate people about what sexual assault looks like in our community which is really the number one way to prevent it. "

The new website is not the only step the White House is taking to the address the issue, there are plans to require colleges to conduct campus climate surveys to gauge the prevalence of sexual assault on campuses in 2016.


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