University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

NEWS RELEASE

News Bureau . Schofield Hall 201 . Eau Claire, WI 54702
phone: (715) 836-4741
fax: (715) 836-2900

Center for Awareness of Sexual Assault
Providing Student Services

 MAILED:  Nov. 5, 2004

EAU CLAIRE — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students who are dealing with sexual assault issues are receiving help on campus through the 1-year-old Center for Awareness of Sexual Assault, according to CASA's new victim services coordinator.

Several students have called the 24-hour hotline seeking support and services since the hotline was established a year ago and a support group for sexual assault survivors is active, said Traci Regis, CASA's victim services coordinator. In addition, Regis has been meeting with classes and sharing information about sexual assault issues in a variety of other ways.

"We're trying to get the word out because we know that sexual assault issues are a part of any college community," Regis said, noting that national data indicate one in six college women has been the victim of a sexual assault or attempted sexual assault in the last year. "We want students to know there is a safe place for them to talk about these issues, whether they've been a victim or if someone close to them has been assaulted."

CASA was created last fall to better coordinate efforts aimed at sexual assault prevention and to provide services to students who are sexual assault survivors. CASA brings together campus and community programs, making it easier for students to know where to go for help and support, said Regis, who began her coordinator duties in early October.

Students calling the hotline at (715) 836-HELP will talk to Regis or a trained student volunteer, Regis said, adding that volunteers also are available to talk with faculty and staff, and victims' friends, parents and other loved ones who have questions or concerns.

"People often think of sexual assault as a stranger-in-the-bushes kind of an attack," Regis said. "In reality, students are at a greater risk of being assaulted by someone they know. And if it's a date that's gone bad or if alcohol or drugs were involved, students aren't as likely to report it. We work with law enforcement but our services are available to people regardless of whether they report an assault."

CASA staff and volunteers can help educate victims/survivors as they decide whether to report a sexual assault, Regis said. "We want to get students good information immediately so they can make their own decisions," she said.

Students from a variety of majors volunteered to staff the hotline, Regis said, noting that volunteers complete an extensive training program to ensure they're prepared to offer appropriate support and information.

In addition to the hotline, Regis also leads a support group from 5-6 p.m. on Thursdays in the women's studies department in Brewer Hall. Other services provided by CASA include individual counseling, training for first-responders such as residence hall assistants, and follow up with students who had issues relating to a sexual assault. CASA also coordinates education programs relating to prevention and risk reduction.

The Family Support Center in Chippewa Falls, an agency that provides sexual assault and domestic abuse services, received funds from the Victims of Crime Act to hire a sexual assault services coordinator for UW-Eau Claire's CASA. Regis works for the agency but has an office on campus.

Prior to taking the coordinator position at CASA, Regis worked for the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin. She also has been involved in other women's organization in the region.

For more information, contact Regis at (715) 836-4357.

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JB

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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741
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Updated: November 4, 2004