HUNTSVILLE, TX (1/30/14) -- With high rates of sexual assault at colleges and universities, campus law enforcement officers are important facets of a campus' response to this crime. The Crime Victims' Institute at Sam Houston State University recognizes the central role campus law enforcement play in sexual assault response and conducted a survey to increase understanding of that role and their procedures in responding to sexual assault cases.
Research has consistently shown that college students are at higher risk of sexual assault, with the most recent estimates indicating that 20 to 25 percent of college women will experience an attempted or completed sexual assault during their college careers. Research also demonstrates that less than 5 percent of these victims will report the crime to police.
To understand the role of campus police in sexual assault cases, the Crime Victims' Institute conducted a survey of 118 law enforcement officers from colleges and universities across the state. In addition to capturing the perception of officers and departments about sexual assault cases, the report was designed to examine the role of officers in the process, collaborative efforts they are involved in, and resources provided to victims after a sexual assault incident.
While many police agencies respond to cases of sexual assault, campus police have additional federal requirements to track, respond to and prevent these crimes through the Clery Act, Title IX, and the upcoming Campus SaVE Act. Unlike municipal departments, campus police also are under the purview of campus administration, which influences the department's resources, training, and operations.
Among the key findings of the study were:
The report also commented on the importance of campus law enforcement officers being included in discussions on improving response and procedures to sexual assault on college campuses. "Sexual Assault on College Campuses: Perceptions and Approaches of Campus Law Enforcement Officers," is available at http://www.crimevictimsinstitute.org/publications/.
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