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Annual security report shows rise in reported sexual offenses on campus

There were four forced sexual offenses reported on Belmont’s campus in 2014, Campus Security’s annual report released Tuesday found.

Two of the offenses took place in residential facilities. The 2014 number is up from two forced sexual offenses reported on campus in 2013 and zero reported in 2012.

The steady increase in reported forced sexual offenses is a sign more victims at Belmont are willing to come forward, Chief of Campus Security Pat Cunningham said. The annual report only covers offenses brought specifically to Campus Security, so the higher number reflects more people going to Security after an assault, he said.

While ideally no sexual assaults should happen on a campus, Cunningham said he would rather have an environment where victims feel confident enough to speak up when assaults do happen, contrary to many places where assaults remain unknown.

“We know at institutions nationwide the average is one-in-five females will be sexually assaulted sometime during their college career. We know 88 percent of victims don’t report,” he said. “What we want to create here is that environment where people feel like they can come forward and so they can get the support, services and resources they need.”

Cunningham highlighted educational programs like Bystander Intervention and Bruins Take A Stand as well as what he called cross-collaboration between Campus Security, the Title IX Coordinator and counseling services to help foster a support network for sexual assault victims.

“We have done a lot in the last year around education and awareness to make sure people know what their resources are that are available to them, both confidential and non-confidential,” he said.

Campus Security is required by federal law to compile the report. It includes statistics from the previous three years for all reported crimes on campus and a list of Campus Security’s institutional policies.

Besides reported sexual offenses, the report found a decrease in nearly all other statistics.

Only 16 drug violations were reported on campus in 2014 as opposed to 24 in 2013. Likewise, the number of liquor law violations fell from 19 to 13.

The number of reported assault offenses on campus also decreased from nine to five in 2014. There was a sharp drop in the number of burglaries as well, only three reported in 2014 as opposed to 13 in 2013.

The full security report can be found here.

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