Senate Report Finds Significant Failures With How Colleges Handle Sexual Assault

Many colleges and universities have significant problems with how they handle sexual assault and violence, according to a new Senate report spearheaded by Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill.

The report is based on a survey of 440 public and private colleges, and found that “many institutions are failing to comply with the law and best practices in how they handle sexual violence among students.”

For example, only 16% of the colleges surveyed conducted annual anonymous climate surveys, which, according to the report, are typically viewed as “one of the best ways to get an accurate portrait of sexual assault issues on a campus.”

The report also laid out several other major issues in how colleges handle campus sexual assaults:

Institutions are failing to comply with the law and best practices in handling sexual

violence on campus. These failures include failing to have a Title IX coordinator, not knowing the scope of the problem on their campuses because of inadequate outreach, not responding to reports of sexual violence made by students, not training students, faculty, and staff on preventing and responding to sexual violence, and having biased or harmful sexual assault adjudication procedures.

One of the most stunning statistics in the report is that 40% of schools surveyed have not conducted any sexual assault investigations in the past five years. While this may seem like a positive trend, it does not line up with studies of college sexual assault — which estimate that one in five students will experience some form of sexual violence in college — and likely reveals that many schools are not properly investigating assaults happening on campus.

Here are some more striking statistics included in Senator McCaskill’s report:

  • Only 51% of surveyed institutions provide a 24-hour sexual assault reporting hotline.
  • Approximately 8% of schools nationally do not allow students to confidentially report sexual violence.
  • Approximately 20% of schools nationally provide no sexual assault response training for their faculty and staff.
  • 31% of schools do not provide any sexual assault training for students.
  • In the past five years, 9% of surveyed schools conducted fewer investigations of sexual offenses than they reported to the Department of Education.
  • More than 20% of surveyed schools give their athletic department oversight of sexual violence cases involving student athletes.

Read the full college sexual violence report here >>

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