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Safety Solutions

Title IX and Sexual Assault; Understanding a Student's Options

Posted by John Baker on May 7, 2015 8:54:38 AM

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Title 9 and Sexual Assaults

Understanding A Students Options


   During Freshman Orientation students are often bombarded with rules, regulations, and tons of information of questionable necessity. Student attention spans seem to shorten as presenters drone on and on about dozens of topics. However, with all the current attention on Title 9 sexual harassment and sexual assault investigations it is imperative that students listen closely to information from the Title 9 Coordinator and Office of Judicial Affairs in order to understand their rights and options as both a victim and the accused.

   The idea for many years has been to “empower” the victim to regain control of a bad situation. Under Title 9 the victim is given options to report to the local police, or to report the incident to campus authorities and request appropriate action. Unfortunately this empowerment has sometimes resulted in a loss of options. A decision made in the traumatic hours after an assault can really impact the future.

   According to Department of Justice data only 30% of those found responsible for a sexual assault or harassment are ultimately expelled from the school. You must take action or be prepared to continue seeing the offender every day on campus. Here are a few things to consider:


  1. We strongly encourage any student sexually harassed or assaulted report the incident to the local and campus police and fully cooperate with a criminal investigation. This is true empowerment even when the victim wishes it would all just “go away” in the hours after the traumatic event.
  2. Victims often change their mind about involving the police when discipline handed down by the school against the offender is something less than expulsion and upon learning of the offender’s lenient sentence then become angry and want police involved. Tragically it is often too late to collect evidence, find witnesses and proceed with a successful criminal prosecution.
  3. Schools have the option of continuing an investigation and bringing action against the offender regardless of whether the victim cooperates or not. These offenders are often predators and they must be stopped. Schools are recognizing the greater duty to the majority than to a single victim. Victims will be asked if they consent to being part of the investigation, not whether they are allowing the investigation to proceed.


New interpretations of Title 9 have done a great deal to help the victims of campus sexual assault in the way of providing alternate housing, changing class schedules, and providing counseling. Campus authorities just have to make sure that victims know fully understand the ramifications of their choices.


For Safety Solutions 4 Schools this Wayne Silcox

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Topics: School Safety

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