CATS Survey results released, 837 sexual assaults reported


File Photo by Eleanor Hasken l Staff

Just over three percent of UK students reported sexual assaults to Lexington police or UK police, the university’s Campus Attitudes Towards Safety survey said.

The 2016 survey, which was published Wednesday, said 837 students reported sexual assault to some resource for the 2015-2016 school year, compared to 1,053 students for 2014-2015. About 60 percent, or 508 students, responded that they reported the incident to their family or peers.

About 19 percent of students reported their sexual assault to a UK employee, the Violence Intervention and Prevention Center or University Health Services, according to the survey results.

The survey said 212 students did not report because they felt the incident “was not serious enough,” 185 students “felt it was a private matter,” 156 students “wanted to forget it happened, 134 “felt partially responsible” and 99 felt “embarrassed or ashamed.”

Of the 837 reported sexual assaults, about 64 percent were off campus, 14 percent were on campus and 21 percent were in UK housing. 

Only 49 percent of all survey respondents said sexual violence at UK is not a problem.

Students began taking the CATS survey in Spring of 2015, UKNOW’s website said. About 23,000 UK students responded to the Spring 2016 survey.  

Director of the VIP Center Rhonda Henry wrote in an email reasons to not report vary from each case but some common reasons are fear of those they care about finding out, a desire to move past the event, fear of not being believed and dealing with feeling of shame, embarrassment, confusion, anxiety and depression.

“When survivors seek services at the VIP Center, there is no ‘requirement’ or pressure to make any type of report,” Henry wrote. “Our goal is that survivors are able to make a well-informed decision and know that we support them in whatever decision is right for them.  We are able to help people explore their reporting options, inform them of accommodations that may be available to them and assist them in navigating the reporting process.”

Henry said the VIP Center refers to reporting as making a formal allegation to law enforcement or the Title IX office, but it is common for survivors to seek support from their family or friends even if they do not want to pursue a formal report.

Other results in the survey said almost 98 percent of students reported feeling safe on campus during the day, while about 81 percent of students reported feeling safe on campus at night.

“This is an intentional, constant improvement process and we’ve made progress since the first survey, but our second year of data collection indicate that there is more work we must do in creating a safe and supportive environment for reporting, raising awareness about sexual assault and providing support for victim survivors,” said President Eli Capilouto in a statement.

UKNOW said the university will host the second annual CATS conference Friday, Sept. 30. UK spokeswoman Jenny Wells said the conference will be at Spindletop Hall. The conference, called “Assessing Campus Climate: Higher Education’s Challenges, Strategies, and Adjudication Issues,” will have a series of panels to discuss campus safety, climate and violence.