According to a recent survey conducted by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) a former sex crimes prosecutor, 41 percent of institutions of higher education have not investigated a single report of sexual violence in the past five years. The survey was sent to 440 institutions of higher education responsible for educating more than five million students; 319 schools completed the survey.
Additionally, the survey revealed:
- 31 percent of institutions have failed to trained their students on sexual violence issues and 21 percent have failed to train their faculty and staff on these topics.
- 22 percent of institutions have their athletic departments conduct “in-house” investigations when sexual assaults involve student athletes rather than local law enforcement.
- More than 10 percent of institutions failed to assign a Title IX coordinator to monitor investigations into alleged sexual violence, in violation of federal law.
- 30 percent of institutions failed to train campus law enforcement officials on responding to sexual violence.
- 73 percent of institutions failed to enact protocols regarding “campus actors” and coordination with local law enforcement following a report of sexual assault.
The finding of this survey are indeed very disturbing.
In our experience at the Law Offices of Tahira Khan Merritt with litigation involving sexual assaults at colleges and universities, students-victims are often afraid to report sexual assault because of shame and guilt, especially if the assailant is a popular student or athlete or the incident is considered a “date rape.” Many times institutions argue the sexual assault was “consensual” especially if the victim had been drinking or taking drugs. Also, if the assault is reported only to campus police, often key forensic evidence is not collected making criminal prosecution of the assailant more difficult. In some cases the assailant is even allowed to remain on campus while the victim is shunned or forced to leave the school.
Congressional leaders are soon expected to soon introduce legislation to combat this crisis. Please write your elected officials and ask them to make the sexual assault prevention at our universities and college students a priority.
If you or a loved one is a victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault at a college or university the Law Offices of Tahira Khan Merritt stands ready to help you with your legal needs. Please contact our offices today at 214-503-7300 or through our website http://tkmlawfirm.com/.
You can also find us on social media at www.facebook.com/childrensexabuseattorneys