Authored by U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight
At the request of Chairman Claire McCaskill, this report assesses how colleges and universities report, investigate, and adjudicate sexual violence. The report is based on a survey of 440 four-year institutions of higher education, which includes a national sample and separate samples of the nation’s largest public and private institutions. It also draws on interviews with stakeholders and three roundtable discussions held by the Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight in 2014.
The survey results showed that many institutions are failing to comply with the law and best practices in how they handle sexual violence among students. These problems affect nearly every stage of the institutions’ responses to sexual violence.
-Lack of Knowledge About the Scope of the Problem. According to the most recent report conducted by the Department of Justice, less than 5% of rape victims attending college report their attack to law enforcement. Experts agree that annual climate surveys-confidential student surveys regarding behaviors that constitute or are associated with sexual assault-are one of the best ways to get an accurate portrait of sexual assault issues on a campus. However, only 16% of the institutions in the Subcommittee’s national sample conduct climate surveys.
-Failure to Encourage Reporting of Sexual Violence. Many policies and procedures have been shown to improve reporting of sexual violence on college campuses. These include allowing reports to be made via a hotline or website, designating an official who can receive reports, and permitting survivor reports to be kept confidentially. However, only 51% of institutions in the national sample provide a hotline to survivors and only 44% of institutions in the national sample provide the option to report sexual assaults online. Approximately 8% of institutions still do not allow confidential reporting.
-Lack of Adequate Sexual Assault Training. More than 20% of institutions in the national sample provide no sexual assault response training at all for members of their faculty and staff. More than 30% of schools do not provide any sexual assault training for students.
-Reported Sexual Violence Goes Uninvestigated. Federal law requires every institution that knows or reasonably should have known about sexual violence to conduct an investigation to determine what occurred. More than 40% of schools in the national sample have not conducted a single investigation in the past five years. More than 20%of the nation?(tm)s largest private institutions conducted fewer investigations than the number of incidents they reported to the Department of Education, with some institutions reporting as many as seven times more incidents of sexual violence than they have investigated.
-Lack of Adequate Services for Survivors. Sexual violence survivors may need a variety of services, such as academic and residential accommodations, to enable them to continue their education after the assault. While most schools reported using a team approach to respond to sexual assaults, their approach often does not includerepresentatives of services that could help the survivor. For example, only 25% of institutions that use a team approach incorporate the local prosecutor?(tm)s office. And though more than 90% of institutions state that sexual assault survivors have access to community victim assistance/advocacy programs, only 51% of schools reported incorporating those services into their team approach. Most institutions also fail to provide access to a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE), a specially trained nurse who can provide medical and other services to survivors of sexual assault.
Jan 16 2015
1507582293 / 9781507582299
US Trade Paper
8.5″ x 11″
Black and White
Education / Educational Policy & Reform