U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Sexual Assault on Campus: What Colleges and Universities Are Doing About It

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2005
18 pages

After summarizing data on the nature and extent of sexual assault on college campuses, this study presents findings on response policies and procedures; reporting options; barriers and facilitators for reporting; reporter training and prevention programming; victim resources; and investigation, adjudication, and campus sanctions.


Researchers studied a random sample of schools in the United States and Puerto Rico that receive student financial aid from the Federal Government. Almost 2,500 schools were examined to determine their sexual assault policies, and campus administrators were asked about the issues mandated by Federal law for study. Using 29 criteria, 8 schools with promising practices in addressing sexual assault on campus were examined onsite. Federal law (the Clery Act of 1990 and the Campus Sexual Assault Victims' Bill of Rights of 1992) requires that schools annually disclose information about crime on campus, including specific sexual crime categories, and develop prevention policies. This study found that schools are complying with Federal law unevenly. Overall, 4-year and historically Black institutions are doing better than other schools in complying with Federal law regarding campus crime and sexual assault in particular. Although most schools comply with the requirement to report crime data, only about one-third do so in a way that fully complies with Federal laws. Anonymous reporting, which encourages victims to come forward, is an option at only half of the Nation's schools. Schools also provide resources for victims unevenly. Fewer than half the schools inform students on how to file criminal charges. In providing guidance to schools in complying with Federal law, this report identifies promising practices, recommends the development of model policies and guidelines, and suggest areas for more research. 14 notes and a listing of 4 additional readings

Date Published: December 1, 2005