UT System releases science backed guidelines for sexual assault responses

The UT system released new sexual assault guidelines. Video by: News 4 San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO - Researchers with the University of Texas System say 23% of female college students are victims of sex assault.

UT hopes to help more victims come forward through thee way it trains campus police.

On Tuesday, the system released the guidelines of how they are doing that.

It is a 170-page document based on scientific research to provide 600 sworn campus police officers with guidance to better engage with victims.

"It angers me a lot," said Nicole Baker, a UTSA student, when asked about sexual assaults.

Baker said it was heartbreaking for her after finding out someone she knew was a victim.

"It is very personal," she added.

It is something no student should have to go through.

"I try and stay in the light and not be alone on campus whenever it's dark or at night," said Baker.

According to the San Antonio Rape Crisis Center, only about 10% of sexual assaults on university campuses are reported.

"We certainly believe that this initiative is a step in the right direction," said Miriam Elizondo, Co-Executive Director for the San Antonio Rape Crisis Center.

Through training, police at all 14 institutions will better understand signals and cues from victims in order to help with the restorative process to put together a case.

"Having the PD on campus to be part of that is extremely critical," added Elizondo.

The science based blueprint was developed by UT System Police and the Institute of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in Austin.

"It is only going to improve that response in the system of care that the victim is going to see," added Elizondo.

So students like Baker can feel safe.

"Just say hey this is not the right thing to do. No means no," she said.

So far this year, 4 sexual assault cases have been reported to UT System Police, in 2015 19 were reported, and in 2014 26.

The UT System is one of the largest systems in the United States, it enrolls more than 271,000.

If you are a victim or know someone that is, you can call the Rape Crisis Center 24 hour hotline at 210-349-7273.

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