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Indiana College Students: A Call Can Save a Life

Indiana's Lifeline law allows minors who have witnessed a crime, a medical emergency or sexual assault to call for help without getting into trouble. Photo credit: Anita Peppers/Morguefile.
Indiana's Lifeline law allows minors who have witnessed a crime, a medical emergency or sexual assault to call for help without getting into trouble. Photo credit: Anita Peppers/Morguefile.
August 19, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana college students headed to campus are being reminded of an important number that could save a life: 911.

Indiana's Lifeline law helps to remove barriers that may otherwise prevent a person from calling to report a crime or seeking medical assistance for someone who is intoxicated.

Leslie Fasone, assistant dean of Women's and Gender Affairs at Indiana University in Bloomington, said it provides immunity for the caller if they are publicly intoxicated and/or a minor.

"If they call 911 for somebody who has experienced a drug overdose, alcohol overdose or for any other crime-related incident including sexual assault," she said, "they will not get in trouble if they call, and if they stay to help."

To receive immunity, the reporting person is expected to stay on the scene until help arrives, cooperate with authorities and provide their name and other relevant information. According to the Indiana Youth Services Association, at least 19 lives have been saved as a result of the Lifeline law.

In addition to the law, Fasone said, they also are working to create a "culture of care" on campus.

"Staff, faculty, administrators, IU Police Department, Bloomington Police Department - we're all here to provide students with support," she said. "It's about helping one another, it's about getting students support and connecting them to resources. And we're really trying to create this norm where if somebody's not sure, they should call."

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than two dozen people in Indiana younger than age 21 have died from alcohol poisoning in the past 10 years - deaths that might have been prevented with the Lifeline law.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN