10 Things All Students Going Back to School Should Know about Sexual Assault

10 Things All Students Going Back to School Should Know about Sexual Assault

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sexual assault is prevalent in schools—both on college campuses and in K-12 schools. Here are 10 things that all students and parents should know as the school year begins:

    1. One in 5 women, as well as about 6 percent of men, are victims of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault in college.
    2.  For many survivors, sexual assault occurs well before college—between 2009 and 2013, an estimated 63,000 children were victims of sexual abuse every year; 7 percent of these children were victimized at school.
    3.  Sexual violence can lead to long-lasting physical and emotional trauma—including sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, sleep disorders, anxiety, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which affects up to 50 percent of rape victims. 
    4. Dealing with the ramifications of sexual assault can derail a student survivor’s education—everything from obtaining medical treatment to assisting with criminal or school investigations is time-consuming and may cause additional physical and emotional trauma.
    5.  All public schools—and many private schools—are required by law to prevent and respond to sexual assault.
    6.  Under federal law, schools that receive federal funding must provide interim measures to ensure that students who have survived sexual violence continue to have access to educational programs and activities.
    7.  Appropriate interim measures depend on the specific circumstances but may include:
    •  issuing a no-contact order;
    •  allowing the survivor to change his or her classes, extracurricular activities, living, transportation, work, or dining situation;
    •  providing counseling, housing assistance, academic support or extensions, tuition or student loan reimbursement, disability services, legal assistance, and assistance reporting the crime to law enforcement. 
  •  If a school allows an accused student to have an attorney present during meetings or hearings connected to the school’s investigation, the complainant/survivor should also be permitted to have legal representation.
  •  In many circumstances, schools are required to investigate and respond to sexual violence even if it is perpetrated off-campus.
  •  In addition to having rights at school and within the criminal justice system, survivors may want to pursue civil claims against perpetrators.
  • Understanding your legal rights from the outset can help prevent a school from violating your right to an education—don’t wait until a school has already violated your rights before talking to an attorney.

    For more information, check out Legal Momentum’s online resources on sexual assault and Title IX protections:

      If you are looking for information on your legal rights as a student sexual assault survivor, reach out to Legal Momentum’s Helpline at peo@legalmomentum.org

      Contributed by: 
      Caitlin McCartney-Gerber

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