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dawson county sexual assault response team (SART)
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Dawson County Health Department’s Projects and Partnerships

Spring 2016

dawson county sexual assault response team (SART)

DCHD is a member of the Sexual Assault Response Team of Dawson County.  A recent increase in sexual assault and related sexual offenses was not completely understood by local authorities.  Many of the offenses involved youth as either the victim or perpetrator, or both.  Some of the victims were particularly vulnerable, such as those with developmental disabilities.  Many of the acts involved sexting and posting sexual acts on social media, frequently with criminal intent (extortion or blackmailing a victim).

An incident action plan was formulated, and DHCD’s portion was to conduct a study of the sexting phenomenon among the middle school and high school students as part of the community health assessment (CHA) process.  Select crime rates were analyzed in preparation for the study.  See the table below.  It should be noted that crime rates in rural and frontier locales can be disproportionately elevated when compared as a rate per 100,000 of population to large jurisdictions.

Table 1. Rate per 100,000 of sentencing by charge, Dawson County and statewide, 2012–2015*

2012 MT State

2012 Dawson County

2013 MT State

2013 Dawson County

2014 MT State

2014 Dawson County

2015 MT State*

2015 Dawson County*

Sexual abuse of Children

1.92

11.16

1.68

10.64

2.74

10.51

4.30

21.15

Sexual Assault

5.66

11.16

5.03

10.64

4.79

0.00

7.23

0.00

Sexual Intercourse without consent

5.26

33.47

4.65

10.64

5.03

42.03

5.57

21.15

*2015 rates projected from June 2015 levels. Rates are subject to change; from the time charges are pressed to conviction and sentencing can exceed 2 to 3 years for this region.

The study’s purpose was to determine the rates of sexting, teens’ perception of sexting and its consequences, parental supervision of internet and smartphone use, extent of smartphone use, and social media use among the local youth.  The results of this study guided the public health actions during a risk communication campaign for parents and youth.  The results of both the study and the public health interventions are being compiled and will be submitted to the Journal of Rural Health for publication this spring with assistance from Kerry Pride, MT DPHHS.

 

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