National Campus Safety Awareness Month: Changing the Institutional Response to Change the Statistics
September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month and over the course of the next two weeks, the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) will be highlighting best practices for reducing sexual assault on campuses.
Despite the attention that this issue receives and the comprehensive efforts some colleges and universities are taking to improve their institutional responses to campus sexual assault, a high percentage of students remain at risk. A recent survey conducted by OVW and the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that an average of one in four undergraduate females experience sexual assault by the time they finish college. Younger students as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students experience the highest rates of sexual violence on campuses nationwide. It’s clear that, as far as we’ve come in recognizing these problems, much still needs to be done to make campuses safe for all students.
As the federal agency responsible for providing leadership in preventing and reducing sexual violence, OVW’s Campus Program has created a centralized resource, ChangingOurCampus.org, to house national resources about campus sexual assault. This website contains the latest research, sample campus policies, protocols, best practices and information on how to access training opportunities and technical assistance for students, staff, and faculty.
In addition to centralizing resources, since 1998, OVW’s Campus Program has awarded more than $131 million to colleges and universities to help them improve their prevention and response efforts. In 2016, OVW will award $15 million to develop comprehensive, coordinated responses on campuses and create sustainable partnerships with community-based victim service organizations.
Over the next few weeks, we will publish additional blog posts on best practices for preventing and reducing campus sexual assault. We will cover composing written notification requirements, bridging the gap between campus law enforcement and the LGBT community and using campus climate surveys as a vehicle for comprehensive change.
In the meantime, OVW has compiled a list of resources for institutions of higher learning, advocates, students and other stakeholders who are working to improve institutional responses to campus sexual assault:
- Changing Our Campus Culture houses multiples resources
- Webinars from the Clery Center for Security on Campus.
The Clery Center is holding a series of “Webinar Wednesdays” to answer frequently asked questions about the Clery Act and Annual Security Reports; Geography; Collecting Statistics; and Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking.
In addition, the Clery Center will also host a webinar on Sept. 29, 2016, entitled “The Clery Act & Title IX: Practical Considerations for Coordination and Integration.”
- The University of New Hampshire’s Prevention Innovations Research Center:
- “It’s Not Just the What but the How: Informing Students About Campus Policies and Resources: How they Get the Message Matters”
- Evidence-based resources about bystander intervention
- Title IX requirements for researchers conducting research on sexual violence
- “Communicating and Using Campus Climate Survey Results”
- The Rutgers School of Social Work
- Lessons Learned Guide on Campus Climate Assessments, which includes a guide on how to turn the results of a campus climate survey into an action plan.
- The National Criminal Justice Reference Service has compiled publications and related materials that focus on campus crime and safety for practitioners, parents and the public.
- The Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting from the U.S. Department of Education