Article

Campus sexual assault: Examination of policy and research

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Abstract

Purpose Campus sexual assault has received a great deal of media attention in recent years, with much focus being placed on the factors unique to universities that enable these crimes to occur. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the circumstances under which these crimes take place and examine the policies of institutions across the USA and Canada to determine whether legislation from various governmental levels impacts the prevalence and incidence rates of sexual assault. Design/methodology/approach A review of the literature on sexual assault is conducted to gain an understanding of the contributory factors in campus sexual assault, and fields outside of psychology are included in the search to capture phenomena outside the perpetrator-victim dyad. Findings The findings suggest that unique variables exist in campus culture including prevention and intervention strategies put in place by governments and individual universities. Some of these policies are aimed at providing victim services, while others engage faculty, staff, and students in taking action from a bystander standpoint. Originality/value This paper also investigates the impacts that mandatory policies would have across North America, and suggests future policy initiatives to reduce the deleterious effects of sexual assault for students and universities alike.

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... In recent years, U.S. government and postsecondary institutions have paid increased attention to campus sexual assault prevention (Patel & Roesch, 2018). Our study suggests that campus-wide empathy trainings have some potential to be effective, but that their effectiveness may depend on which empathy deficits are targeted. ...
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