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Colleges and universities across the country have come under fire recently for failing to respond appropriately to reports of campus and off campus sexual assault. In some instances, victims have reported that their college administrators ignored their reports of sexual violence, and some colleges are accused of failing to follow internal procedures which required filing reports with local law enforcement agencies. In many cases, the perpetrators got off, free and clear.

The problem of sexual abuse and sexual assault in a school setting is nothing new. Sex abuse and assault at schools, including elementary schools and high schools occur with alarming frequency. Colleges and universities are no exception. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education is currently investigating how specific colleges have responded to sexual assault/abuse reports in the past and whether those responses violated federal law. Click here to read more about the Clery Act and how it applies to security procedures of colleges and universities which receive federal funding.

Developing Procedures and Protocols for Handling Sexual Assault at College

The Clery Act, short for the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, provides guidelines for developing appropriate procedures for dealing with the problem of sexual assault at college.

Two of the key guidelines relate to prevention programs and procedures to be followed once a sex offense has been reported.

College Sexual Assault Prevention Programs

College sexual assault prevention programs should be based on educating young men and women about the following:

  • recognizing sexual assault and abuse,
  • the roles of alcohol and drugs in date rape, and
  • the sanctions perpetrators may face, including criminal prosecution.

Related: College Sexual Assaults – The Problem of Student-Student Sexual Violence

Procedures for Handling Sexual Assault at College

Procedures for handling reports of sexual assault in a college setting should include:

  • sanctions (school disciplinary sanctions and reports to law enforcement agencies),
  • steps victims should follow (who is to be contacted, what reports are to be filed, etc.),
  • a statement of rights of the victim,
  • a statement of rights of the accused,
  • notification of the existence of counseling for victims, and
  • notification of options for changes in academic or living situations.

The key to any successful sexual abuse protocol is educating and training employees about the protocol, and also following up on the initial training with subsequent training. Follow up training is the best way to reinforce the importance of the protocols and ensure those protocols are actually followed. In addition, employees at all levels should receive the training, including maintenance workers, residence hall/dorm monitors, professors and administrators.

Brian Kent – Former Prosecutor

Mr. Kent is a former prosecutor who now represents victims of sex abuse and assault in civil courts. Please contact Mr. Kent at Click To Call for a free case review.

DISCLAIMER: This website does not create any attorney-client relationship or provide legal advice. It is crucial to speak to a qualified lawyer prior to making any decision about your case. Read full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.