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Rutgers releases sexual, domestic violence crime statistics for 2018

Rutgers University—New Brunswick had the second highest number of reported rape and domestic violence cases compared to other New Jersey schools.
Photo by Photo by The Daily Targum | The Daily TargumRutgers University—New Brunswick had the second highest number of reported rape and domestic violence cases compared to other New Jersey schools.

Rutgers University—New Brunswick had the second highest number of reported rape cases and domestic violence incidents in 2018 compared to other colleges in New Jersey, according to an article from NJ Advance Media

Fifteen rape cases were reported on New Brunswick campus property, with 10 of these cases happening in residence halls, according to official University crime statistics. The statistics show a decrease in the number of cases reported compared to 2017, when 30 on-campus rape cases were reported. 

Similarly, 49 domestic violence incidents were reported on campus in 2018 compared to 70 incidents reported in 2017, according to the statistics. The number of on-campus fondling incidents reported decreased from eight to six cases between 2017 and 2018. 

Five on-campus stalking cases were reported in 2018, which is one more case than 2017, according to the statistics. 

At Rutgers University—Newark, the number of on-campus rape cases reported increased from three to 12 between 2017 and 2018, according to the Newark crime report. The campus also had three fondling incidents, five stalking cases and 17 domestic violence incidents, all on campus. The number of on-campus fondling and stalking cases increased from 2017, while the number of on-campus domestic violence incidents decreased.

At Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) on the Newark campus, six rape cases, five fondling cases and 14 domestic violence on-campus incidents were reported in 2018, according to the RBHS statistics. The year before, no sexual violence incidents were reported and 30 domestic violence on-campus incidents were reported, according to the statistics. No on-campus stalking incidents were reported each year. 

Rutgers University—Camden reported no sexual violence incidents, 10 domestic violence incidents and one case of stalking on campus property in 2018, according to the Camden statistics. The year before, three rape cases, eight domestic violence incidents and three stalking cases on campus property were reported, according to the crime report. 

“Rutgers’ highest priority is the safety of its students, faculty and staff,” a University spokesperson said in response to the statistics. “As the state’s largest university and a national leader in sexual violence support, research and prevention, the University offers comprehensive services at each location to ensure our university community has access to the support, training and information to prevent and address sexual violence.”

The spokesperson said a campus climate survey in 2015 prompted the University to begin initiatives to increase student awareness on sexual violence resources in 2016. 

Marissa Marzano, a spokesperson for the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said many sexual violence cases go unreported, which can skew the data on these crimes, according to NJ Advance Media. 

“Whenever we see official reports, we know it’s often only the tip of the iceberg. Sexual violence remains the most vastly underreported crime. Some students will simply never feel safe reporting their victimization to authorities on- or off-campus," Marzano said, according to the article. 

The University spokesperson said the increase or decrease in cases between 2017 and 2018 could be attributed to current sexual violence prevention initiatives. 

“The University believes the increase in the number of reported sexual assaults at some of our locations and the decreases at other locations since that time reflects our ongoing efforts to raise awareness about sexual violence resources, and we are encouraged that those seeking help have connected with these resources,” the spokesperson said. 

The spokesperson said the Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance (VPVA) has locations on each of the three campuses, with the Newark VPVA established in 2017.

With the establishment of the VPVA, the Newark campus has begun implementing awareness campaigns, bystander intervention training for students and disclosure training for faculty. The spokesperson said these programs are designed to encourage students to report sexual violence incidents. 

“Across Rutgers, other successful initiatives include follow-up campus climate surveys and faculty/staff and online training, the #WeSpeak awareness campaign at Rutgers (University)—Newark, a required sexual violence educational program for first-year Rutgers (University)—New Brunswick students, bystander intervention training at RBHS and the Engaging Allies bystander intervention program at Rutgers (University)—Camden,” the spokesperson said. “The Rutgers University Police Department has also trained officers in new approaches and techniques for interviewing trauma victims.”

The spokesperson said the University is required to disclose crime statistics for each year under New Jersey law.