Thanks in large part to the #MeToo movement, more victims of sexual assault are coming forward, telling their stories, reporting misconduct, and pursuing justice. Unfortunately, educational institutions do not always adequately address, investigate, or support victims of campus sexual assault.
Title IX is a civil rights law that grants federal protections against sex-based discrimination in any educational institution that receives federal funding. While Title IX is widely known for offering protections against gender-based discrimination in college sports, it’s actually much broader, covering a range of issues, including college sexual assault.
Most schools, including private institutions and K-12 campuses, must adhere to Title IX. This federal civil rights law states:
- “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
- Title IX is also intended to set standards for sexual harassment, sexual violence, or any gender-based discrimination, even if the incident takes place off-campus.
- It is the responsibility of these schools to prevent sexual assault or harassment on their campuses. This includes stopping retaliation from other students, school administrators, or faculty.
The federal government and the Supreme Court have agreed that every student should have equal opportunity when it comes to their education. So it follows that if a college or university fails to prevent a student from encountering sexual violence while they are attempting to obtain their education, the school could be in violation of Title IX.
The Clery Act is another federal law that is meant to protect the rights of survivors of campus sexual assault. This deals primarily with colleges and universities. The laws require that campuses:
- Notify survivors of counseling resources.
- Notify survivors of their options to report the sexual assault to the school, a local law enforcement agency, or both.
- Provide meaning academic or living accommodations that do not burden the survivor.
- Notify the sexual assault survivor of the final outcome of any disciplinary proceedings that take place.
Campuses should create an environment that protects sexual assault survivors while holding perpetrators accountable to the fullest degree possible. When an educational institution fails to protect victims of sexual assault, a civil lawsuit can be filed against the institution for their negligence and for further enabling abusive activity.
You have rights and the trustworthy sexual assault attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP know exactly how to hold institutions responsible. Do not hesitate to contact our experienced attorneys at 646-632-2017 for more information on how we can help you.
Sexual assault regards any sexual physical act against a person’s will or if it occurs when the victim is not capable of providing consent. As per The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), some forms of sexual assault include:
- Attempted rape (attempt to penetrate the victim)
- Unwanted physical sexual touch
- Forceful sexual acts on perpetrator’s body
- Rape (penetration of the victim)
Acts of sexual abuse are more common than any other crime on campus. 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men face sexual assault in college.Despite these numbers, it is generally believed that the vast majority of cases go unreported for a number of reasons, including but not limited to:
- The victim feels as if they need to be personally responsible for the situation and avoid telling the authorities.
- The victim has feelings of embarrassment or shame.
- The victim has a legitimate fear of reprisal from either the perpetrator, other students, or college/university employees.
- The victim simply did not seek police intervention.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, up to 90 percent of college sexual assault cases go unreported. Educational entities are responsible for taking action against abusers and fairly representing victims that reach out. Campus failure to ensure the safety of students, investigate the situation thoroughly, or reprimand the perpetrator, further enables such situations of injustice and violates the law.
You do NOT have to remain quiet. You do NOT have to be afraid. The sexual assault attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP understand exactly what it takes to obtain legal recovery against the individuals and institutions that have harmed you.
You are NOT alone. We will be with you every step of the way until you obtain the justice you deserve.
Just like colleges, our public schools are expected to safeguard all students. Educational institutions must uphold Title IX to protect against but not limited to:
Acts of sexual abuse on public or private school campuses can include but are not limited to:
- Private school sexual abuse
- Public school sexual abuse
- School bus/transportation sexual abuse
If you or a loved one have are being sexually harassed at school, consider taking the following steps:
- “Quid pro quo” sexual harassment by a teacher or school employee
- Unwanted touch, comments, and/or gestures by a teacher, school official, another student, or school volunteer
Sexual assault or violence by students or faculty
- Inappropriate texting
- Cyberbullying through social media
- Do NOT blame yourself for the actions of your abuser or harasser.
- Tell the individual who is harassing you that their behavior is inappropriate and hurtful to you. Make your message loud and clear.
- Write down any and all occasions of the harassment. Make sure to include what happened, when it happened, where, and who else may have seen or heard the incident.
- Provide details about how the harassment/assault made you feel and what you did in response. Save this information in a safe place.
- If you or a loved one are dealing with cyberbullying, save and store the harassing content before it gets deleted.
- Report the assault or abuse to the proper authorities. If you notify a school official, do so verbally as well as through writing, and make sure to keep a copy of any notifications you provide.
- Speak with the Title IX office to learn more about filing a claim.
- File a complaint with a government agency.
- Seek out legal aid if you want to file a lawsuit against the school.
Sexual assault is a serious crime. As such, if you are a victim of campus sexual assault, you can report the crime to campus police. Campus police will investigate the alleged crime by talking to you, the perpetrator, and any witnesses. Once they have completed their investigation, they will take the case to your local D.A. It will be the D.A.’s responsibility to decide whether to press charges against the perpetrator. If the D.A.’s office chooses to file charges against the perpetrator, they could go to trial or take a plea deal. Either way, they may face steep penalties.
Your college or school should have a Title IX office as well. You can also report the instance of sexual assault or abuse to that office since they are tasked with addressing campus sexual assault. If you report the assault to your school, they are required to act.
They will most likely conduct an investigation of their own to determine the facts of the case and decide whether the perpetrator should be sanctioned. You might be interviewed as part of the investigation, along with the perpetrator and anyone who witnessed the incident.
The school is also required to ensure your safety during this period. Depending on the circumstances and your needs, this might include offering living accommodations or granting a no-contact order against the perpetrator.
If your college or university fails to respond to allegations of sexual assault or to take campus safety seriously, you could hold them liable in civil court. If a school violates Title IX protections by failing to conduct a comprehensive investigation or offer you the support you need, you might be entitled to seek compensation through a lawsuit.
When you report the sexual assault to the police, that will initiate a criminal investigation, separate from any civil action you could take against your school. The only way to hold your college accountable for negligence is to file a civil lawsuit.
If you are a survivor of campus sexual assault, it’s important to know that you are entitled to hold your campus liable in civil court if they failed to respond to your allegations or if they neglected to conduct a proper investigation. They may also be liable if they failed to foster a safe, supportive environment that protects students from perpetrators of sex crimes.
The compassionate legal team at Hach & Rose, LLP is here to listen to you and help you determine the path forward that is best for you. We have decades of experience helping survivors of sexual violence get justice and the compensation they need to heal and reclaim their lives. We are committed to fighting for your rights.
Contact us today at (212) 779-0057 to set up a free and confidential consultation with a dedicated and caring New York sexual abuse attorney.