Only 37 percent of America’s institutions of higher education report sexual crime statistics in full compliance with federal law, according to a report released to Congress last month by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institutes of Justice. Despite making significant strides in developing prevention and response policies and making them accessible to students, the study found substantial problems with prevention programming, reporting policies, and adjudication practices at colleges and universities across the country.
The two-year study is the first comprehensive investigation of how the nation’s institutions of higher education (IHEs) comply with the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act in responding to student allegations of rape and sexual assault, and preventing its occurrence. The study, based on a sample size of 2438 IHE’s, was conducted by EDC’s Health and Human Development Programs and its partner the University of Cincinnati, with contributions by the Police Executive Research Forum.
Major findings in “Campus Sexual Assault: How America’s Institutions of Higher Education Respond” include:
- There are no standard state or institutional definitions of “sexual assault” and “rape.”
- Underreporting by victims remains the most significant challenge facing campus and law enforcement authorities.
- Less than half of all IHEs provide new students with acquaintance rape prevention and sexual assault awareness programming.
- Only 48.5 percent of the four-year public schools and 43 percent of the four-year private nonprofit schools included in the study used the forcible and non-forcible sexual offense categories required by the Clery Act in their annual crime statistics.
- Only a quarter of all schools use an investigative stage to collect evidence once a report is made.
- Only a third of all schools use due process procedures for the accused.
Originally published on September 30, 2002