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(ANN-96-05) (ANN-96-05) Developing and implementing a comprehensive prevention policy for campus violence against women.

DCLPublicationDate: 9/1/96
Summary: Developing and implementing a comprehensive prevention policy for campus violence against women.

September 6, 1996


Dear President:

Women on college campuses, and young women generally, are often
at risk of being sexually assaulted or victims of violence. While
many schools have created programs to raise awareness about
stalking and sexual assault, including dating violence and
acquaintance rape, some have not yet taken this step. We would like
to encourage all schools to focus on these issues, and this letter
provides some suggestions for your use in developing and
implementing a comprehensive prevention policy.

Many orientations for new students on campus already include
information about sexual assault and stalking. Effective orientation
programs could incorporate the following: explanations of what
constitutes sexual assault, stalking or physical abuse; dissemination
of effective strategies to prevent sexual assaults; discussion of the
institution's policy on alcohol and the connections between alcohol
abuse and sexual assault; resources available to victims; the methods
of reporting such incidents; and the institution's policy on handling
instances of sexual assault and other crimes.

In addition, it is advisable to coordinate your efforts with local law
enforcement, prosecutors, health care providers, rape treatment
centers and shelters. This will reinforce for students the fact that
sexual assault is a serious crime in need of attention not only by the
educational institution but by law enforcement and health services as
well. Inviting representatives from such organizations to speak
during an appropriate campus event can reinforce this message.

Schools are encouraged to include all organizations that are an
integral part of campus life, such as the student council, the campus
newspaper, intercollegiate athletics, the Greek system, organizations
involved in preventing substance abuse and violence, and other
student organizations, in the effort to educate and to prevent violence
against women.

A strong protocol for handling cases of sexual assault and stalking is
a tool that many campuses have found effective in assisting victims,
in ensuring appropriate disciplinary action and in preventing such
incidents from occurring. These protocols generally specify actions
a victim should take following an assault, resources available to a
victim, and procedures that will be taken if an offender is identified.

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If you wish more information on ways to combat violence against
women on campus, the following resources may be helpful:

Department of Justice Violence Against Women Office

Department of Education World Wide Web site on campus safety

Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention
World Wide Web site

We have an important opportunity to inform students and affect how
they perceive sexual assault and other forms of violence against
women. We hope that you will join in this critical partnership to end
the cycle of violence. Please let us know if any of our Departments
can be of assistance.


Richard W. Riley Janet Reno
Secretary of Education Attorney General

Donna E. Shalala
Secretary of Health
and Human Services

Last Modified: 08/31/1996