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The trend leaves untold number of college women feeling betrayed and vulnerable, believing that their allegations are not taken seriously.The Tribune's findings also raise fresh questions about the way college administrators and law enforcement officials handle the allegations, even as the Obama administration calls attention to the issue with a series of initiatives and investigations aimed at better protecting students from sex crimes.
UIC filed the report as part of a federal grant program to reduce dating violence and sexual assaults on college campuses.It's against that backdrop that prosecutors and detectives decide whether to move forward with a case.Their hesitance often is reflected in police investigations, where victims say they frequently feel like they must prove their innocence."It's not so much that successful convictions cannot be obtained; it's just that these crimes are complex and require enhanced awareness and training given the dynamics involved," said Gary Margolis, managing partner at Margolis Healy & Associates, which focuses on higher education safety."What's the point in going to police if they don't do anything about it?It almost makes me feel worse."Kim Lonsway, director of research for the nonprofit group End Violence Against Women International, worries that low arrest and prosecution rates could discourage future victims from coming forward, leaving them with the impression that reporting a sex crime is pointless and only serves to cause further pain and humiliation."If you're a parent or student looking at those numbers, it suggests rapists can commit their crimes with impunity," she said.The department this year also began a new initiative to push educators, police and others to aggressively pursue reports of sexual violence on campuses, where nearly 1 in 5 women will be a victim of an attempted or actual sexual assault during their college careers, according to the U. They often involve alcohol and conflicting accounts on whether the physical interaction was consensual, making it difficult for law enforcement to sort out the truth.
About 1 in every 4 rapes reported nationally results in an arrest, statistics show.
Of those arrested, about 62 percent are convicted, according to a Justice Department study.
The FBI, which annually compiles crime statistics, does not track arrest and conviction rates for sex offenses on college campuses.
Women who report sexual violence on college campuses seldom see their accused attackers arrested and almost never see them convicted, according to a Tribune survey of several Midwestern universities.
The survey of six schools in Illinois and Indiana found that police investigated 171 reported sex crimes since fall 2005, with 12 resulting in arrests and four in convictions.
Police declined to press charges against her alleged attacker; the university eventually suspended him for a year.