Project Staff: Dr. Beverly McPhail, Caitlin Sulley
One in five women and a smaller number of male students are sexually assaulted in college, and only 5% of those assaults are reported to law enforcement (Krebs, Lindquist, Warner, Fisher, & Martin, 2007; Fisher, Cullen, Turner, & 2000). To address campus sexual assault, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault called upon campus communities to prevent victimization, respond more effectively to survivors, provide training to school officials, and improve administrative policy (Not Alone Report, April 2014).
The School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin was one of four schools named in the Not Alone Report to conduct research on campus sexual assault issues. The school’s Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (IDVSA) will focus on campus law enforcement response to sexual assault and will produce a Blueprint to help campuses consider how their police can engage in solving these crimes in victim-centered ways.
The Blueprint’s three aims are: 1) To improve university police responses to sexual assault crimes 2) To increase university police involvement with key stakeholders in efforts to address sexual assault crimes 3) To increase the role of university police in participating in and/or leading primary prevention efforts and risk reduction related to sexual assault crimes on campuses.
To achieve these objectives, Blueprint researchers will address three broad targets: understanding sexual assault crimes in the context of university setting; delineating important policies and procedures; and advancing understanding through training and ongoing technical assistance. Findings from IDVSA’s Statewide Sexual Assault Prevalence Study and relevant climate surveys on campus sexual assault will also inform the Blueprint. Methods include gathering expert information from key informants, mixed methods strategies (surveys, interviews and focus groups), literature searches, and developing and pilot testing the Blueprint with campus law enforcement departments.