author Marlee Hirson, Tuesday January 12, 2016

Recent discussions on campus safety show that universities and colleges still aren’t taking enough action with the issue of sexual assaults on campus. The article “Universities Falling Short on Sexual Assault Reporting: Document” posted by MetroNews Ottawa discusses how the majority of campus sexual assaults go unreported. In order to close the gap between reported and unreported assaults, students need more ways to report assaults and be in contact with security teams.

Addressing Sexual Assault Underreporting

Looking at why sexual assaults are so heavily underreported, one possibility is that individuals may doubt the severity of their personal incident. A student may be hesitant to contact police authorities if a verbal threat or gesture is made towards them, even though it still counts as a sexual assault. The reporting capabilities of campus mobile safety apps gives students a way to report sexual assaults that they may think are not severe enough to warrant contacting the police.

An individual’s anxiety to report an assault face-to-face with a university faculty member may be one of the many other reasons for the issue of underreporting. Mobile safety apps have a chat feature which lets users communicate via messaging, which may relieve some of the anxiety associated with explaining a sexual assault.

Where Mobile Safety Apps Come In

Mobile safety apps provide students with different ways to report incidents, varying from anonymous tips to click-to-calling, so regardless of the level of contact, the incident is still reported. This is a step forward in changing how sexual assaults are reported on campus and working towards a more accurate account of campus sexual assaults.

Having all these tools and resources in a mobile app gives students a less intimidating, instant way to report a sexual assault or contact the university about a previous incident (through mental health resources), which provides universities with more reports.

What are other reasons for why sexual assaults on campus go unreported? Do you agree that the reporting capabilities from mobile safety apps will help? Comment below to let us know what you think!