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Responding to Campus Sexual Assault

Problem: Students Victimized | Solution: Campus Grant Program | Resources
Technical Assistance | Campus Report to Congress

Sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking are serious problems on college and university campuses.   Students who are victimized by other students face unique challenges, such as close proximity to perpetrators and difficulty with anonymity.

Download the Campus Grant Program Fact Sheet.

Problem: Students Victimized

Nineteen percent of undergraduate women reported experiencing completed or attempted sexual assault since entering college.1  Most of these assaults were committed by someone the victim knew,2 and these perpetrators are often serial offenders.3   Rape frequently devastates the victim and derails her education and her future.4  

Many college rapists target victims who are drugged, drunk, passed out, or otherwise incapacitated – creating a situation in which victims may be less likely to report and where prosecutors may be less likely to prosecute.5  Only 2% of victims of incapacitated rape reported the assault to law enforcement.6  

Women between 18-24 years of age are at the greatest risk for intimate partner violence.  Estimates of dating violence among college students range from 10% to 50%.7   This violence has serious consequences, including physical injury, depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety disorders.8  

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Solution: Campus Grant Program

The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) administers grant programs authorized by the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and subsequent legislation.  These grant programs help reduce domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking by strengthening services to victims and holding offenders accountable for their actions. Eligible applicants are institutions of higher education and consortia of higher education institutions in which each individual consortium member is also eligible to apply.

The Grants to Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking on Campus Program (Campus Program), authorized in 1998, funds institutions of higher education to adopt comprehensive responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.  The OVW Campus Program strengthens:

  • on-campus victim services
  • advocacy
  • security and investigation, improving both prosecution and prevention of these crimes.

Campus Program grantees must:

  • Provide prevention programs for all incoming students;
  • Train campus law enforcement or security staff;
  • Educate campus judicial or disciplinary boards on the unique dynamics of these crimes; and
  • Create a coordinated community response to enhance victim assistance and safety while holding offenders accountable. 

Campus-based sexual violence prevention programs like those funded by VAWA have been found to increase active bystander behavior – students intervening to stop or prevent a sexual assault.9

In Fiscal Year 2013, the Campus Program funded 28 projects, totaling over $7 million. Since 1999, OVW has funded approximately 388 projects, totaling more than $139 million, for grantees addressing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking on campuses.

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Resources

Campus Training Standards for Campus Security Personnel and Campus Disciplinary and Judicial Boards

Establishing A Mandatory Prevention and Education Program for all Incoming Students on Campus

A Coordinated Community Response on Campus

Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Educational Opportunities Section

Department of Education Office for Civil Rights

Department of Education Office for Civil Rights Dear Colleague Letter

For a complete list of OVW grant awards, visit the OVW Grant Awards page

Contact the OVW Campus Program Unit at OVW.Campus@usdoj.gov or call (202) 307-6026     

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Technical Assistance

OVW’s Technical Assistance Program provides OVW grantees with training, expertise, and problem-solving strategies to meet the challenges of addressing domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking on campus.  

California Coalition Against Sexual Assault

East Central University

Green Dot, Inc.

Mississippi Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Security on Campus

Men Can Stop Rape

Black Women’s Blueprint Project

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Campus Report to Congress

Annual Report to Congress on the activities of grantees receiving federal funds under the Grants to Reduce Violent Crimes Against Women on Campus Program (Campus Program), as required by Section 826(d)(3) of the Higher Education Amendments of 1998, 42 U.S.C. § 14045b(d)(3)

2012 (PDF) | 2011 (PDF) | 2010 (PDF) | 2009 (PDF) | 2008 (PDF) 

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Footnotes
1 Krebs, C. P., Lindquist, C. H., Warner, T. D., Fisher, B. S., & Martin, S. L. (2007). The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Study. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Justice.

2 Krebs, C. P., Lindquist, C. H., Warner, T. D., Fisher, B. S., & Martin, S. L. (2007). The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Study. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Justice.

3 Lisak, D., & Miller, P. M. (2002). Repeat rape and multiple offending among undetected rapists. Violence and Victims, 73-84.

4 Kilpatrick, D. G., Resnick, H. S., Ruggiero, K. J., Conoscenti, L. M., & McCauley, J. (2007). Drug facilitated, incapacitated, and forcible rape: A national study (NCJ 219181). Charleston, SC: Medical University of South Carolina, National Crime Victims Research & Treatment Center.
Eisenberg, D., Golberstein, E., & Hunt, J. B. (2009). Mental Health and Academic Success in College. B E Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, 9(1), 1‐35.
Arria, A. M., Garnier‐Dykstra, L. M., Caldeira, K. M., Vincent, K. B., Winick, E. R., & O’Grady, K. E. (2013). Drug use patterns and continuous enrollment in college: results from a longitudinal study. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 74(1), 71‐83.

5 Lisak, D., & Miller, P. M. (2002). Repeat rape and multiple offending among undetected rapists. Violence and Victims, 73-84.
Krebs, C. P., Lindquist, C. H., Warner, T. D., Fisher, B. S., & Martin, S. L. (2007). The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Study. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Justice.

6 Krebs, C. P., Lindquist, C. H., Warner, T. D., Fisher, B. S., & Martin, S. L. (2007). The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Study. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Justice.

7 (Amar & Gennaro, 2005; Barrick,
Krebs, & Lindquist, 2013; Kaukinen, Gover, & Hartman,
2012; Nabors, Dietz, & Jasinski, 2006). (as cited in Dating Violence Among College Students: The Risk and Protective Factors Catherine Kaukinen Trauma Violence Abuse published online 4 February 2014)

8 Carlson, McNutt, & Choi, 2003; Kaura & Lohman,
2007; Kendra, Bell, & Guimond, 2013; Straight, Harper, &
Arias, 2003) (as cited in Dating Violence Among College Students: The Risk and Protective Factors Catherine Kaukinen Trauma Violence Abuse published online 4 February 2014)

9 Coker, A. L., Cook-Craig, P. G., Williams, C. M., Fisher, B. S., Clear, E. R., Garcia, L. S., & Hegge, L. M. (2011). Evaluation of Green Dot: An active bystander intervention to reduce sexual violence on college campuses. Violence Against Women, 17(6), 777 –796. doi:10.1177/1077801211410264.
Updated: April 2014