A sexual assault policy describes a process an institution of higher learning is required to have by federal law. These policies outline how the respective university or college should handle reports of sexual assault and steps the school should take to protect their students.
In order to maintain federal funding and compliance with federal law, universities are required to maintain these policies and adequately handle any issues that may deny their students access to education.
What Are Some Issues with Sexual Assault Policies?
The Department of Education Office of Civil Rights has recently initiated an investigation into roughly 60 universities sexual assault policy for being inadequate and possibly violating Title IX.
Under Title IX, "no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." Under this law, a university may deprive an individual free and equal access to education on the basis of sex by:
- Failing to adequately investigate sexual assault claims.
- Improperly handling sexual assault claims.
- Not taking adequate measures to protect individuals from sexual harassment, rape, or other crimes of sexual violence.
Title IX requires if a complaint is made or if the school becomes reasonably aware of an instance of sexual violence, the university must conduct a prompt investigation and take appropriate equitable measures.
Failing to abide by this law exposes the university to civil suit, money damages, and other equitable remedies.
Should I Seek Legal Advice?
Sexual assault is a serious issue, and studies indicate that young people in college are among the most at risk. If you have been a victim of any type of sexual crime while enrolled in college, and feel you were treated improperly or the investigation was done poorly, a criminal defense attorney can help you. An experienced lawyer will be able to communicate with the proper authorities and, if necessary, file a lawsuit to seek appropriate compensation for your harm.