Colleges Lack Training to Prevent Sexual Assaults: Senator

By | July 9, 2014

One in five U.S. colleges doesn’t provide faculty and staff with training in how to respond to victims of sexual assault, according to a survey by Senator Claire McCaskill.

In addition, about 31 percent of the schools don’t train students in how to prevent sexual assaults and respond when incidents occur, according to preliminary data from the survey of 440 colleges to be released in full tomorrow by McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat.

Students across the country have been holding protests and complaining to the Education Department about the frequency of rape and sexual misconduct on campus, where an estimated one in five women is sexually assaulted during their college career, according to a Justice Department-funded study. McCaskill sent out the surveys in April to learn how incidents are reported and schools handle them.

President Barack Obama’s administration has demanded that schools put more effort and resources into preventing and responding to sexual assaults. In 2011, the administration issued guidance saying that failure to do so would violate Title IX, the law that bars gender discrimination in education. In April, a White House task force called for colleges by 2016 to begin anonymously surveying students on rates of sexual assault.

McCaskill is leading a bipartisan group of senators to develop legislation aimed at increasing prosecutions of rape and sexual assault by local law enforcement.

Colleges and universities have been required to provide training on campus sexual assaults since 1993, said Daniel Carter, director of the VTV Family Outreach Foundation’s 32 National Campus Safety Initiative. The number of colleges that reported the absence of training seems high, he said.

“It is concerning that as many as 31 percent of schools may not have been complying with the mandatory education requirement,” he said in a telephone interview.

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