Defense Chiefs and University and College Police Sections of the IACP Meet to Discuss Sexual Assault

Last month, the IACP’s Defense Chiefs of Police and University and College Police Sections held a joint meeting at Quantico Marine Corps Base (Virginia) to discuss challenges they face responding to and preventing sexual assaults and to share effective promising practices to address this issue. Because of the similar population and environment present on military bases and college campuses, the meeting provided a unique opportunity to highlight the realities and impact that sexual assaults have on both communities.

Lynn Rosenthal, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, who was present at the meeting, provided a national perspective on sexual assault issues and commented on how both communities face the complicated dynamic of transitioning young adults from adolescence to adulthood. Michael Webster, Director of Public Safety for McDaniel College (Maryland), discussed how alcohol is present in nearly 90 percent of sexual assaults. He highlighted the need to reframe the culture and prevalence of drinking on college campuses, and to hold sexual assault perpetrators accountable.

The crimes of sexual assault are complex and multifaceted, and myths and misconceptions about victims and offenders are pervasive in society. The group discussed proactive measures and effective promising practices that have been implemented on military bases and campuses in order to address the misperceptions, better support victims, and hold offenders accountable. Among the strategies discussed were creating alternative reporting options, developing and sustaining strong partnerships, presenting comprehensive training on the realities of sexual assault and the effects of trauma, and implementing effective prevention efforts.

The Sections will continue exploring ways to collaborate and will submit a joint resolution on combating sexual assault during IACP’s 121st Annual Conference and Exposition this fall in Orlando, Florida.

Related Resources: IACP’s Violence Against Women Projects; Defense Chiefs of Police Section; and University and College Police Section.

ImageMcDaniel College (Westminster, MD) Director of Public Safety Michael Webster
discusses sexual assault prevention with Lynn Rosenthal, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women.
(Photo Credit: Colby Hauser, US Army)

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