New Federal Rules Should Produce Better Picture Of Sex Abuse On Campus


New federal regulations require colleges to log incidents of domestic assault, dating violence and stalking in addition to sexual assaults in annual campus safety reports that had to be completed this month, The Tennessean reports. Advocates say the additional data provide a clearer picture of the realities of sexual violence on campus. “Sexual violence doesn't happen in a vacuum,” said Kathy Walsh of the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence. “If you really want to address sexual violence, you have to address dating violence, intimate partner violence and stalking.”

The rules, amendments to the federal Violence Against Women Act and the Clery Act, also require colleges work to prevent those crimes. Although the changes went into effect in July, Tennessee colleges have been scrambling to meet them for more than a year. Nonprofits have hosted roundtables, workshops and conferences as colleges big and small developed and refined policies to address the issues. Vanderbilt University says it is responding to high-profile controversies with a robust array of programs to prevent sexual violence and support victims. In 2013, four former Vanderbilt football players were charged with raping a female student in a dorm room, a case still making its way through the court system. The university remains under review by federal education officials under a complaint by six current and former female students about how the institution has handled cases of sexual misconduct.

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