Protecting Students from Sexual Assault

Not Alone Together Against Sexual Assault

Resources and materials from are now accessible on, an online resource center supported by the Office on Violence Against Women.

Some resources also are available below, under Resources.


Sexual Violence on College Campuses| Campus Grant Program | Campus Climate Surveys |  Resources
Technical Assistance | Campus Reports to Congress

Sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking are serious problems on college and university campuses. OVW’s Campus Program awards grants to institutions of higher education to help create effective, comprehensive, and sustainable strategies to prevent and respond to these crimes. The Campus Program's official title is: Grants to Reduce Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking on Campus. It is authorized by the Violence Against Women Act and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 and subsequent legislation. 

Sexual VIolence on College Campuses

In a 2016 study released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), an average of approximately 21% of undergraduate women across the nine schools participating in the study reported experiencing sexual assault since entering college. Non-heterosexual college females reported significantly higher rates than their heterosexual female peers. The majority of rape and sexual assault victims reported being victimized by someone they knew.1  

The 2016 BJS study also found that in the 2014-2015 academic year, an average of 6.4% of college women across the nine participating schools reported being victims of intimate partner violence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 50% of women report experiencing their first incident of intimate partner violence between 18 and 24 years of age.

Being a victim of sexual assault, especially rape, can negatively impact a student’s mental and physical health and academic outcomes.3   Being a victim of dating violence and intimate partner violence is related to a host of detrimental health and social functioning outcomes, such as academic failure, depression or anxiety, and alcohol and drug abuse.4  

In a campus environment, students who are victimized by other students face unique challenges, such as close proximity to perpetrators and difficulty maintaining anonymity. The majority of rape incidents of college students are unreported by victims – in the 2016 BJS study, only 7% reported the incident to a school official. Furthermore, most incidents of rape involve the consumption of alcohol or drugs and are less likely to be reported to campus officials.5  

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Campus Grant Program

OVW’s Campus Program supports institutions of higher education in adopting comprehensive responses to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Since 1999, the program has awarded more than $131 million in grants. In fiscal year 2016, the program funded 45 projects, totaling more than $15 million. See the list of awards.

The program offers grants to strengthen culturally relevant and survivor-centered approaches, provide on-campus victim services and advocacy, foster community involvement, and enhance security and investigation. These activities improve prevention of the crimes and have been found to increase intervention by bystanders to stop or prevent sexual violence.6  

Grant recipients use their funding to: 

  • Provide prevention programs for all incoming students.
  • Train campus law enforcement or security staff to effectively respond to these crimes.
  • Educate campus judicial or disciplinary boards on the unique dynamics of these crimes.
  • Create a coordinated community response to enhance victim assistance and safety while holding offenders accountable.

Priority areas include:

  • Projects that provide culturally specific prevention services and resources to underserved populations, such as LGBT students, racial/ethnic minority students, and deaf or hard of hearing students. 
  • Colleges and universities that primarily serve African-American, Latino, and Hispanic populations; tribal communities; and institutions of higher education based in the five U.S. territories.

Learn more about OVW’s grant programs and solicitations.

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Campus Climate Surveys

Campus climate surveys are essential because they generate data on the nature and extent of sexual assault on campuses, as well as campus attitudes surrounding sexual assault. Armed with accurate data, administrators and students can then begin to direct resources where they are most needed. Both the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault and the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights have identified campus climate surveys as best practices. 

OVW's Student Action Packet is designed to help students navigate the complexities of conducting a campus climate survey on sexual assault at their own college or university. The items in the Packet give students resources to help them effectively engage with their college or university's administration. 

Download the complete student action packet [PDF] as one product or download each piece individually: 

  • FAQs developed in response to questions submitted by student advocates
  • Talking Points to help students understand and communicate about climate surveys
  • A Peer's Perspective on Campus Climate Surveys -- An interview with a student about campus climate surveys
  • Administrators' Perspective on Campus Climate Surveys -- Two interviews with administrators
  • CCSVS Fact Sheet on the Campus Climate Survey Validation Study

OVW has also developed an  Administrator Information Packet to guide college and university administrators through the process of developing and implementing a campus climate survey on campus sexual assault. 

In addition to the documents listed above, the Administrator Information Packet includes: 

For questions about campus climate surveys or the Student Action Packet, contact, (202) 307-6026 



Sexual Misconduct Policies: Sample Language for Colleges & Universities

Colleges & Universities

Campus Climate Surveys

Prevention Resources

Other Resources

Contact OVW'sCampus Program: or call (202) 307-6026

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Technical Assistance

OVW’s Technical Assistance Program offers grantees evidence-based models and promising practices to meet the challenges of preventing domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking on campus.  [link to]

Technical assistance resources specific to campus grantees are listed below. Visit for a centralized listing of all training and technical assistance activities.

Culturally Specific

Coordinated Community Response

   Campus Law Enforcement

Comprehensive Prevention and Education

Campus Disciplinary and Conduct Boards

Clery Act

Evaluation & Assessment

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Campus Reports to Congress

Annual Reports to Congress on the activities of grantees receiving federal funds under the Campus Grant Program are required by Section 826(d)(3) of the Higher Education Amendments of 1998, 42 U.S.C. § 14045b(d)(3)

2012 (PDF) | 2011 (PDF) | 2010 (PDF) | 2009 (PDF) | 2008 (PDF) 

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1 Krebs, C. P., Lindquist, C. H., Berzofsky, M., Shook-SA,B., Peterson, K., Planty, M., Langon, L., and Stroop, J. (2016). Campus climate survey validation study: Final technical report. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Breiding, M. J., Smith, S. G., Basile, K. C., et al. (2014). “Prevalence and characteristics of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence victimization — National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, United States, 2011.” MMWR 2014; 63(8): 1-18.

Kilpatrick, D. G., Resnick, H. S., Ruggiero, K. J., Conoscenti, L. M., & McCauley, J. (2007). Drug facilitated, incapacitated, and forcible rape: A national study (Final report submitted to the National Institute of Justice, NCJ 219181), Washington, D.C.: U. S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice. Lindquist, C. H., Barrick, K., Krebs, C., Crosby, C. M., Lockard, A. J., & Sanders-Phillips, K. “The context and consequences of sexual assault among undergraduate women at Historically Black Colleges and Univerisites (HBCUs).” Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 28(1), 2437-2461. doi: 10.1177/0886260513479032. Zinzow, H. M., Amstadter, A. B., McCauley, J. L., Ruggiero, K. L., Resnick, H. S., & Kilpatrick, D. G. (2011). “Self-rated health in relation to rape and mental health disorders in a national sample of college women.” Journal of American College Health, 59(7), 588-594. Jordan, C. E., Combs, J. L., & Smith, G. T. (2014). “An exploration of sexual victimization and academic performance among college women.” Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 15(3), 191-200. doi: 10.1177/1524838014520637

4For a review, see Kaukinen, C. (2014). “Dating violence among college students: The risk and protective factors.” Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 15(4), 283-296. doi: 10.1177/1524838014521321.

5Zinzow, et al. (2011), Krebs, et al. (2016), and Fisher, B. S., Daigle, L. E., Cullen, F. T., & Turner, M. G. (2003). “Reporting sexual victimization to the police and others: Results from a national-level study of college women.” Criminal Justice and Behavior, 30(1), 6-38.

6 Coker, A. L., Cook-Craig, P. G., Williams, C. M., Fisher, B. S., Clear, E. R., Garcia, L. S., & Hegge, L. M. (2011). Evaluation of Green Dot: An active bystander intervention to reduce sexual violence on college campuses. Violence Against Women, 17(6), 777 –796. doi:10.1177/1077801211410264.


Updated March 1, 2017

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