The state is allocating $65,000 to fund a study aimed at understanding why Indiana has the second highest rate of sexual assault among teenage girls in the country.
Researchers at IUPUI’s Global Health Communication Center will conduct the study this summer.
State representative Christina Hale proposed the study during this past legislative session. It’s a conservative estimate, but nearly one in five girls in Indiana is raped before she graduates high school. Hale says policy leaders need more information to help them understand why the problem is so bad in Indiana and why so often these assaults go unreported.
“This information should help us to prevent the rape and sexual assault of children throughout Indiana for all the contributing reasons,” Hale said, “whether this is child seduction, whether it’s date rape, whether it's incest, children should be safe in Indiana from these types of crimes. “
Researchers will conduct two surveys – one aimed at people who were assaulted when they were younger to try and learn why people don’t report it. The second survey will be geared toward people who interact with teens such as teachers and clergy members.
Hale says she expects to see results from the survey in the fall and those results will help lay the groundwork for creating sexual assault prevention policies and programs.