Sexual assault task force created for Va. colleges

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY/AP) — A task force to combat sexual assaults on Virginia’s college campuses has been created by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

McAuliffe signed an executive order Thursday creating the Governor’s Task Force on Combating Campus Sexual Violence.

Document: Joint declaration on combating campus sexual violence

The task force will include campus administrators, advocates, law enforcement, higher education attorneys, health professionals and others. The task force will be chaired by Attorney General Mark Herring.

I hope that that our message is clear,” McAuliffe said. “Sexual assaults will not be tolerated, not in our communities and certainly not on our college campuses.

Herring’s office will also begin a training program with college and university staff who are involved in the prevention of and response to reports of sexual violence. A statewide summit will be held in Richmond in October to bring together campus leaders to discuss ways to prevent and respond to sexual violence.

Experts say that many instances of sexual assault go unreported. And local college students agreed and approve of the governor’s initiative.

It happens a lot more than you think, said ODU junior Sarah Schauer. “A lot of it doesn’t get reported, so I figure the more help the better.”

It is very important, because you don’t want other students to get affected by this and you want to have this task force, so we can protect the students from people who do this type of stuff, said ODU freshman Ashley Johnson.

10 OYour Side dug into online crime stats at our local schools. We found ODU had the most reported sexual assaults reported since 2010 with 22. Christopher Newport University and Norfolk State University had eight each in that same period. And Hampton University has had only one assault reported.

Crime stats for 2013-2014 have not been published, yet.

The task force will provide a final report to the governor by June 1.

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