SA Members Introduce App to Improve Sexual Assault Reporting Process

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The student association is working with administrators at Syracuse University to bring Callisto, a third-party sexual assault reporting system, to the university.

SA is working with Sheila Johnson-Willis, SU Equal Opportunity Manager and Title IX Manager, to implement the app, SA President Justine Hastings and Vice President Ryan Golden said. SA’s Diversity Affairs Co-Chairs Candice Ogbu and Taylor John detailed the initiative at the Assembly meeting last Monday.

“(Callisto is) a technology that empowers survivors and gives them disclosure options in a way that makes them feel safe,” Hastings said.

The Callisto app uses a matching system to register repeat sexual assault offenders. When a sexual assault survivor enters the name of her abuser, the identity of the abuser is recorded. The app then works across all universities to identify repeat perpetrators, according to the app’s website.

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Once the database identifies a repeat offender, Callisto will partner with each survivor with a third party “legal options advisor” to discuss options they might want to pursue. The app also publishes and maintains a list of resources for survivors, including the American Bar Association at the National Women’s Law Center, on its website.

Bringing the app to SU was one of Hastings and Golden’s campaign promises when they ran for president and vice-president of the SA last spring.

According to a survey conducted in the spring of 2018, only about 5% of students who were victims of sexual or relationship violence filed an official report at the university. One of Callisto’s main goals is to help survivors feel supported without forcing them to file a formal report, Golden said.

While SA is not changing the current process for reporting sexual assault to SU, the association hopes this alternative route will encourage more survivors to report sexual assault, Hastings and Golden said.

SA plans to further expand diversity and inclusion initiatives that help marginalized groups on campus, including victims of sexual assault and violence, Hastings said.

“The Student Association unequivocally supports survivors of sexual assault and we are committed to supporting and advocating for them,” Hastings said.

Contact Alexandra: [email protected]


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