Uber Works To Prevent Sexual Assault Amid Allegations

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Uber is unveiling a company-wide effort to raise awareness of sexual assault.

It is revamping how it handles customer complaints after the company has faced multiple allegations of criminal behavior by its drivers.

A reported culture of harassment inside the company led to the resignation of its founder, Travis Kalanick, as CEO.

Uber says the new initiative will make it easier for riders to share their stories.

Last summer, a nighttime ride turned into a nightmare when 43-year-old Kris Brix said her Uber driver attacked her.

“I pushed him off me. He came at me again, did the same thing, shoved his tongue in my mouth,” said Brix.

She reported it and an Uber rep called her within hours.

“It almost seems like a bit dismissive,” said Brix. “I never even found out if the driver was still on the road.”

Now, Uber is trying to improve the experience victims have with call center employees.

“When they’re receiving a call of this nature, it’s critically important how we respond,” said Tracey Breeden with Uber Global Safety Communications. “That that can be life-changing for that person.”

Breeden says they’re giving employees additional sensitivity training for speaking with trauma victims.

But some riders – like Brix – say the company needs to go even farther, make additional changes like adding an in-app panic button, cameras in cars, and fingerprint-based background checks for drivers.

The company doesn’t have plans to make those changes. Instead, they are sending out information on sexual assault prevention to riders and drivers through their app.

Drivers will not be required to read the information before being approved to drive.

People filing complaints still have to follow-up with Uber if they want to know how their case was resolved.

If you use the Uber app Monday, you’ll receive a link to information from sexual assault awareness groups.

Uber is also donating $5 million to the groups as part of their new partnership.

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