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Support systems helping, as UW sexual assault reports rise



Number jumped from 7 to 12 at UW-L in past year 

There has been a big jump in sexual assault complaints at several University of Wisconsin campuses. Among them, UW-La Crosse.

In 2016, there were 12 sexual assault reports filed on campus and 46 that happened off campus. In 2015, the number of reported sexual assaults was seven.

UW-Madison reported 36 sexual assaults last year.

Chancellor Joe Gow says, however, doesn’t think the number of actual assaults is rising.

“The difference is we have more people now in support positions for victims of sexual assault,” Gow said. “So, I think we’re getting more reports. I don’t know that it’s necessarily a more common crime.”

One of those support positions Gow is referring is Ingrid Peterson, the school’s violence prevention coordinator.

“That’s made a world of difference as far as students being willing to talk about what’s happening,” Gow said. “And then also, she provides the support for them to pursue these citations through the legal system.”

The topic is a challenging one to address.

“We make them aware of the resources that we have,” Gow said of students. “We have to be honest. We’re a safe campus but we’re not immune from these kinds of things.”

Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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