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Reported sexual assault cases expected to increase greatly

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Local sexual assault cases are expected to increase greatly with a new change in federal law.

Amarillo Police say they expect there'll be a big increase because the new federal law expands the definition of sexual assault. It's now including men and different forms of assault.

Officials say this will not affect prosecution because Texas law has already been including this for years. They say the change will give the federal government the ability to get a more accurate assessment of the number of crimes.

Sergeant Brent Barbee with the Amarillo Police Department says this is an under-reported crime, and it's important people become more aware and educated so they're willing to come forward.

He says victims often say the reason they're reporting the crime is because they're afraid the criminal will sexually assault someone else.

If you need information about sexual assault or on how to get help, you can call the family support services crisis hotline at (806) 374-LIFE. It's available 24 hours a day.

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10. 

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