Throughout this knowledge module, reference to certain provisions or sections of a piece of legislation, part of a legal judgment, or aspect of a practice does not imply that the legislation, judgment, or practice is considered in its entirety to be a good example or a promising practice.

Some of the laws cited herein may contain provisions which authorize the death penalty. In light of the United Nations General Assembly resolutions 62/14963/16865/206, and 67/176 calling for a moratorium on and ultimate abolition of capital punishment, the death penalty should not be included in sentencing provisions for crimes of violence against women and girls.

Other Provisions Related to Domestic Violence LawsResources for Developing Legislation on Domestic Violence
Sexual Harassment in Sport Tools for Drafting Sexual Harassment Laws and Policies
Immigration Provisions Resources for developing legislation on sex trafficking of women and girls
Child Protection Provisions Resources on Forced and Child Marriage
Other provisions related to dowry-related and domestic violence laws
Related Tools

Sexual assault in universities or institutions of higher education

Last edited: January 25, 2014

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Legislation should prohibit different and unequal treatment of sexual assault cases inuniversity setting such as: a higher standard of evidence for sexual assault cases occurring on campus than sexual assault cases occurring elsewhere; providing mediation between victims and perpetrators; and allowing delays in prosecuting cases.

Legislation should require universities and other institutions of higher learning to immediately report all sexual assaults to municipal or state law enforcement, to regularly disclose information about sexual assault crimes on campus, and to provide all students with information on school policies and processes for filing a complaint of sexual assault and information on reporting sexual assault to municipal or state police.  

Legislation should provide for:

  • Anonymous, confidential, anonymous internet, and third party reporting options;
  • Mandatory referrals to municipal or state police and prosecutors;
  • Written law enforcement protocols for victim-centered response;
  • Mandatory and regular training for campus law enforcement officers, security officers, and “student affairs” personnel, including counseling center staff, health and wellness staff, student and faculty staff such as residence hall advisors or assistants, and student activities staff. Training must prioritize victim rights and welfare over negative publicity for the college or university;
  • Coordination of crisis response procedures with investigatory authority given to municipal or state law enforcement;
  • Referrals for timely forensic medical evidence collection;
  • Sexual assault peer education and information on prevention of date or acquaintance rape;
  • Victim advocates;
  • Victim support services, including those tailored to minority students, LGBTQ students, immigrant students, and physically-challenged students;
  • Orders for protection; and
  • Sanctions for fraternities and athletic teams involved in sexual assaults. See: The Advocates for Human Rights, Sexual Assault in Higher Education – Laws and Protocols, www.stopvaw.org.



The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (20 USC § 1092(f)) requires colleges and universities in the United States to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses, to issue timely warnings about serious threats, and to develop and maintain emergency response procedures.

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (2013) of the United States amended the Clery Act to add domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking to the list of crime statistics that higher education institutions must report. In addition, VAWA 2013 provides for increased campus responsiveness, better protection for victims, and more accountability for perpetrators.


A database which tracks sexual assault policies at colleges and universities throughout the United States, The Campus Accountability Project, has been created by the joint efforts of Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER) and V-Day. The database includes information on sexual assault in each university’s student code of conduct, whether anonymous reports of sexual violence can be made, and if sexual assault crisis services are available 24 hours a day. The goals of the database are to provide students and prospective students with information regarding their university’s sexual assault practices and to offer information and advice on how to advocate for changes to existing college policy. Samantha Kimmey, Database Spotlights Gaps in Campus Rape Policies, WE News: Women’s E-News.Org (16 February 2012).

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, The Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting (2011). This handbook presents step-by-step procedures, examples, and references for higher education institutions to follow in meeting the campus safety and security requirements of the US Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. Available in English. For a video training companion to the handbook, with examples and scenarios, click here.

San Diego Police Department and Rana Sampson, Community Policing Associates, What College Women Should Know about Sexual Assault, Rape and Sexual Battery. This brochure presents various scenarios and then poses the question, "Is it rape?" Clear answers based on California state laws are provided for each scenario. The brochure also provides information on consent, reporting, date-rape drugs, and a resource list. Available in English.

San Diego Police Department and Rana Sampson, Community Policing Associates, What College Men Should Know about Sexual Assault, Rape and Sexual Battery. This brochure presents various scenarios and then poses the question, "Is it rape?" Clear answers, based on California state laws, are provided for each scenario. The brochure lists specific criminal penalties men could face. The materials are useful to engage students in dialogue, comparing their perceptions of what rape is against the legal system. Available in English.

Ohio Board of Regents, A Safer Campus: A Guidebook for Prevention and Response to Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence and Stalking for Ohio Campuses. This guidebook identifies key best practices to prevent and respond to sexual and intimate partner violence and stalking and provides short and long term action recommendations for colleges and universities to implement in four areas: preparedness, prevention, response and recovery. Available in English.