Reports of dating violence, domestic violence decline on campus, according to Clery report

Lauren Girgis

Reported incidents of dating violence and domestic violence at UT decreased for the second year in a row, according to the most recent Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.

According to the report, total on-campus reports of dating violence decreased from 22 to nine from 2016 to 2017 and then to five in 2018. Total on-campus reports of domestic violence decreased from nine to five from 2016 to 2017, and then to one in 2018.

“My hope is that (the decrease) is attributed to a decrease in any domestic violence cases,” UTPD sergeant Samantha Stanford said. “On our website, we have resources available to … the UT community. So my hope is that they’re bringing forth (reports) to Title IX or other available resources as needed.” 

Crime data from various campus security authorities, such as Title IX and the University of Texas Police Department, are made available in the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, which was released last week. The crimes in the report include sexual assaults, thefts, disciplinary referrals and Violence Against Women Act offenses, which includes dating violence and domestic violence.

Off-campus reports of domestic violence decreased from eight in 2016 to three in 2018, according to the report. The report also said off-campus dating violence decreased from one in 2016 to zero in 2018.

Dating violence is similar to domestic violence, but domestic violence occurs between two people in a longer-term relationship, Stanford said. Reports can be directed to UTPD or Title IX, which conducts administrative investigations to determine if University rules and policies have been violated, Stanford said.

“(Reporting) allows us the opportunity … to try to get (a victim) out of that potentially dangerous situation,” Stanford said. “Their safety is the first and foremost issue. Secondly, it provides us the opportunity to address the situation and hopefully investigate it and forward it onto the expert system for suggested research.”

Undeclared freshman Nicole Hernandez said she sees students tend to jump into relationships quickly in college. Sharon Hoefer, Voices Against Violence prevention and outreach coordinator, said this is a common warning sign of an unhealthy relationship.

Hernandez said she thinks UT can do a better job informing students of how to report concerns throughout the entirety of students’ time at UT. 

“In the AlcoholEDU they make us do, they showed us ways we could report violence, but I feel like it’s not really repeated a lot,” Hernandez said.

Hoefer said October is National Domestic Violence Prevention Month, which is dedicated to promoting healthy relationship skills and giving the UT community opportunities to support survivors of emotional violence. She said students should remain aware of what a healthy relationship looks like.

“One of the most important things to do is to remember that a survivor or someone experiencing dating or relationship violence is the expert on their own story,” Hoefer said. “So … offer them options for who they may be able to talk to or safety planning, but (do) not tell them what to do or assume that you know what’s best
for them.”