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Report: UW-Madison among universities addressing sexual assault with more training, staff

April 26, 2017 By Doug Erickson

Universities across the country, including UW–Madison, have taken a wide variety of concrete steps over the last three academic years to address the prevalence of sexual assault and its consequences, according to a new report by the Association of American Universities.

The report, released April 26, follows up on a landmark 2015 association survey of college students that found high rates of sexual assault and low rates of reporting it.

Universities have since increased training, added staff, improved data collection, and developed new programs for high-risk student subgroups, according to the report. Fifty-five of the 62 leading research universities that comprise the association’s membership participated in the report, including UW–Madison.

Changes at UW–Madison due to the 2015 survey findings include the following:

  • All incoming first-year and transfer students now must attend an in-person violence prevention workshop. This second “dose” of prevention is in addition to Tonight, an online program required since 2014.
  • More prevention efforts are now targeted to student populations disproportionately affected by violence.
  • Three more staff members have been added to the Violence Prevention and Survivor Services Unit on campus—two victim advocates and a violence prevention specialist.
  • Violence prevention training specifically geared to incoming graduate and professional students is now offered and will be required starting this fall.

“We learned a great deal from the AAU survey and we’re using that to enhance our efforts at education, prevention and response,” says Dr. Sarah Van Orman, director of University Health Services. “This issue continues to be a high priority for our campus.”

Read the full report