Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Sexual Assault Reports Rise in the District and on Campus

Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department received more reports of sexual assault this summer than they did last summer.

The total number of reported cases of sexual assault in Washington, D.C. this summer increased by 3 percent from last summer, according to data from the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.

Every district except for the First District had an increase in reported instances of sexual assault, according to an Aug. 26 WTOP article, and the total number of reported cases was 416, up from 401 last summer.

The number of reported sexual assaults occurring on sidewalks and on public streets increased by nearly 21 percent, tallying to a total of 110 reported incidents, according to the WTOP article. Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle, both part of the Third District, saw a 42 percent increase in assaults on the street or sidewalk.

The Seventh District, which encompasses much of Southeast D.C., experienced the largest increase in reported sexual assaults with a jump to 17 this summer from three reports last summer.

The District’s MPD declined to comment on the increased numbers.

The rise in reports of sexual assaults in the city are mirrored on campus, where the number of reports of sexual assault have increased. Georgetown University Police Department records indicate that between January 2018and July 2018, the number of reported sexual assault cases on Georgetown’s campuses was higher than the number of reported cases during the entire prior year.

Samantha Berner, interim Title IX coordinator, said the increasing number of reports of sexual assaults on campus can be attributed to a greater effort by the university to raise awareness about how individuals can report instances of sexual misconduct.

“Increased reporting of sexual misconduct at Georgetown is consistent with current national trends and is expected because of widespread efforts to encourage reporting and raise awareness about where and how reports can be made,” Berner wrote in an email to The Hoya.

To raise awareness on where and how to report instances of sexual assault, the university has increased educational programs and made policies more concise, Berner wrote.

“At Georgetown, we continue efforts — like climate surveys, revisions to policies, and ongoing information poster campaigns — that contribute to a better understanding of what constitutes sexual misconduct, where to report, and how to get help, which can all lead to an increase in individuals seeking support and reporting,” Berner wrote.

As part of ongoing programming to increase awareness for reporting instances of sexual misconduct on campus, the university plans to conduct its second campus climate survey in 2019, three years after its first such survey in 2016, to examine the prevalence of incidences of sexual assault on campus to help the university determine how to prevent further misconduct, according to Berner.

Until the survey is published, the university is continuing to increase educational opportunities and programming about where and how to report instances of sexual misconduct.

Resources on campus already in place to combat sexual assault include a mandatory online educational course for first-year students about sexual assault prevention and a bystander training course, which had a 98 percent completion rate this year and a 94 percent rate last year. In addition, the office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action launched an online resourcecenter to provide answers for students who have questions about sexual misconduct on campus.

“Georgetown is committed to preventing and addressing sexual assault and misconduct through comprehensive trainings, programs, and engagement with the campus community,” Berner wrote. “We continue to focus our efforts on education and prevention, support for survivors, and prompt and equitable response processes.”

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