Cracking down on college cases of sexual assault

White House task force releases 20-page report detailing plans to curb problem


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A major initiative released Tuesday focuses on cracking down on cases of sexual assault on college campuses.

A White House task force released the 20-page report detailing plans to curb the problem across the country.

The federal government has developed a checklist of what it wants to see campuses do to curb sexual violence. The list includes:

- Colleges performing systematic surveys of what's going on campus.
- Promoting "bystander intervention" -- which encourages bystanders to step in if they see possible sexual assault or harassment.
- Colleges training victim advocates to be on call and provide emergency support.

Students at Florida State College at Jacksonville have different opinions on how much of a problem sexual assault is, specifically on how the crime is under-reported.

"In our society they blame the victim. It's what the young lady is wearing or how she's acting," said Winter Broadhurst, a college student. "There's really no excuse for it."

Another student questioned why anyone would be afraid to report something that happened to them by someone they didn't know.

"We plan to review the report from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault," Jacksonville University said in a statement. "Jacksonville University is committed to maintaining a safe and secure living, learning and work environment."

Channel 4 also spoke with Morgan Moeller, the rape recovery team director for the Women's Center of Jacksonville. She said it's important for the government to tackle this issue.

"Generally speaking they are the first administration to really consistently focus on issues related to violence against women," said Moeller. "We know that sexual assault proportionately affects women, but we also know that it affects men."

The government has also developed the website NotAlone.gov. It will give victims an easily understandable list of their rights and a simple description of how to file a complaint.

The surveys and other changes are expected to be implemented on college campuses by 2016.

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