UNH Student Researches New Ways to Combat Campus Sexual Assault

Annually, one in five women on college campuses experience some variation of sexual assault – 95-percent of those assaults are not taken to the police standing as one of the most underreported crimes on campuses. Senior forensic science major Valerie Luutran plans to explore sexual assault through the lens of the officials, both on college campuses and within police forces, in hopes of discovering different paths that could be taken to create the optimal environment for survivors to come forward.
“This has never been looked at, it has been looked at with like trauma victims, but not sexual assault survivors,” Luutran says.
She plans to conduct her research around the interview tactics used on sexual assault survivors executed by college campuses and police departments. Through the series of interviews, Luutran will be observing how the variations of various tactics affect the behavior of the survivor. By comparing of tactics and the overall purpose of the experiment holds the potential of exploring the differences between the techniques to potentially figure out what turns survivors away from pursuing their report criminally rather than solely to their colleges.
“I think really I just hope to better inform colleges on their reporting procedures,” Luutran said.
Luutran is currently a forensic science major, but plans on attending graduate school for higher education with a focus in student affairs. When proposing a thesis she wanted to conduct research that would stand relevant to her career path, so petitioned the forensics department to combine her academic discipline with her professional studies. With the discoveries from her research, she plans to continually refer and build upon her findings to build upon the facilitation of Title IX and reporting on conduct boards.
Luutran is currently seeking out survivors of sexual assault to participate in her study to help find a solution to better facilitate the reports . She is looking for female undergraduate students who have experienced sexual assault at any point, not only at the University. If interested, please contact Luutran at [email protected]
DISCLAIMER: Expressing interest and/or participating does not constitute reporting to university; thereafter, upon expressing interest and/or participation if an individual wishes to report the university research staff will not be involved in the reporting but can help direct them to the resources.