New report finds many colleges out of compliance with federal campus reporting laws

Just 37 percent of U.S. colleges are in full compliance withfederal laws about reporting campus crime statistics, according to a new reportreleased by the National Institute of Justice.

Researchers for thereport, released in December, determined that while most schools comply with therequirement to report crime statistics, less than half of colleges offeropportunities to anonymously report crimes or adequately provide students withinformation on how to file criminal charges.

Without properinformation on the prevalence and nature of crime and sexual assault on campus,students may be less likely to report their own encounters with assault orcrime, the report concluded.

“It’s very important toreport sexual assaults, because an offender could offend again,” saidAlison Kiss, program director for Security on Campus, Inc., a nonprofitorganization that advocates for safer campuses and security issues.“It’s important for students to be forewarned if something doesoccur.”

Kiss said it is often the job of on-campus media toreport on crime statistics and individuals incidents, and that inadequate crimerecords could limit the ability of student journalists to properly warn studentsabout campus crime and sexual assault.

“[Journalists] help makesure that the campus is warned that something is happening,” she said.“A campus has the right to know what’s goingon.”

The report cited other areas of concern, including whetheror not colleges have a written policy for sexual assault responses, how collegesdefine sexual misconduct and the ways that students are able to report sexualvictimization.

Eight universities and colleges were identified ashaving promising practices in regard to prevention, reporting and sexual assaultpolicy. Several of these schools have prevention programs aimed at all-malegroups on campus, such as athletes and fraternities.

The report“highly recommended” reporting and response policies that directlyinvolve the victim in decision-making as he or she moves from campusadjudication to the local law enforcement system.

For moreinformation, download the full report, “Sexual Assault on Campus: What Collegesand Universities Are Doing About It,” from the NIJ Web site at: