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Bill Would Mandate Indiana Study Causes Of Sexual Violence

Shadows Of Innocence: Sexual Assault Among Indiana's Youth helped start a discussion about sexual assault, particularly among teenage girls.

The Indiana legislature could take up a bill this session aimed at studying the causes of the state’s high rate of sexual assault among teenage girls.

A legislative study committee approved today the measure Rep. Christina Hale, D-Indianapolis, is proposing.

More than 17 percent of girls in Indiana are raped before they graduate high school—that makes Indiana the second worst state in the nation.

“But we don't know why, we don't know where, we don't know who is doing this or how it's happening and that's what we need to find out," she says. "Once we do that, we will be poised urgently to take action and to create policy and law that's going to prevent these crimes from happening in the future."

John Parrish Sprowl, the co-director of the IUPUI Global Health Communication Center, designed the study, which will include geographic information system mapping technology.

“If we have pockets of high reporting, we want to know whether that’s because we do a particularly good job of encouraging people to report in that area, or if its because we have a particular problem there, is that somewhere we need to target with additional resources," he says.

The legislation actually calls for two studies to be conductedone to evaluate the underreporting of crimes against children. The other will investigate reporting of domestic and sexual violence.

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