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Serving Victims on Campus

Policy and Protocol Development

According to California's Campus Blueprint to Address Sexual Assault, "a campus sexual assault policy establishes the institution's intent to proactively address sexual assault complaints, respond to the needs of victims (including students, faculty, and staff), and hold perpetrators (including students, faculty, and staff) accountable."38 For example, institutions of higher education can create policies to—

  • Assist victims who choose not to report but still want to have medical/emotional support services.
  • Allow for confidential services, including anonymous reporting.
  • Abide by regulations mandated by the Clery Act, Campus Sexual Assault Victim's Bill of Rights, Uniform Crime Reports, and Title IX statutes (for additional information on the federal regulations, see Security on Campus).
  • Notify victims of their rights to have advocates and support persons present during interviews.
  • Transport victims and perpetrators to off-campus offices (e.g., law enforcement, forensic examination site).
  • Obtain alternative living/academic accommodations for victims, if requested.

The response protocols for campuses need to include multidisciplinary service providers such as39

The Right Tool

Protocol Checklist for Responding to Sexual Assault Helps university staff ensure comprehensive and consistent responses to sexual violence; developed by Rutgers State University.

  • Campus law enforcement or security.
  • Campus and/or community-based victim service providers.
  • Campus and/or community health services, counseling or mental health services, local hospitals, and the community SART.
  • Student affairs offices (e.g., judicial affairs, residential services, campus ministries, women's resource centers), so that schools can establish communication plans for all potential responders.
Enhance Your Response to Sexual Violence on Campus
  • Support the development, implementation, and maintenance of a campus SART or participate on the local SART.40
  • Assign one individual or department to coordinate, implement, and evaluate all educational efforts, victim response services, long-term support services, and revisions to policies and adjudication procedures.
  • Conduct needs assessments to identify specific gaps in the prevention and intervention of sexual violence.
  • Develop partnerships among campus and community law enforcement, medical and forensic services, and nongovernmental victim service providers and designate staff to regularly meet these community-based providers to facilitate a collaborative multidisciplinary response.
  • Evaluate the safety and security of the campus, considering environmental factors such as physical and capital improvements needed to address safety (e.g., lighting, emergency callboxes, landscape maintenance, building locks, equipment for law enforcement and security on campus).41
  • Identify sustainable funding to support sexual assault education, prevention, and response services on campus.
  • Designate funds to support ongoing campus and offsite training and continuing education related to sexual assault response and prevention.
  • Create a directory of service providers and a referral system to help victims access experts who can help them.
  • Clarify roles and responsibilities through memorandums of understanding (MOUs) among campuses, local law enforcement, and other providers in the community.
  • Reach out to students who live off campus (e.g., distribute educational material at places they frequent such as businesses, places of worship, and community centers).
  • Provide opportunities for students to mobilize and to create peer-initiated and supported initiatives.
  • Infuse college curriculums with information about sexual violence.