Institutions of higher education are required to make public detailed information regarding sexual assault and related institutional policies, particularly via the institution's website. As part of a study funded by the National Institute of Justice, researchers with the Justice and Gender-Based Violence Research Initiative at the Wellesley Centers for Women reviewed 969 college and university websites to explore the information available about the institution's response to sexual assault on campus.
In November 2017, the researchers presented initial findings from their study during a poster session of the American Society of Criminology 73rd Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA. The poster took the perspective of a student reporting a sexual assault to evaluate if the information that students sought was available on college and university websites. This included questions like: Can I get help without reporting? How do I report? What happens after I report? Who investigates? Who decides? What is my role?
The researchers found that most websites provided answers to basic questions these students might ask. Public colleges and universities were more likely to provide this information on their website. Very small colleges and universities were less likely to provide this information.
Citation: Cares, A.C., Pattavina, A., Williams, L.M., & Stein, N. (2017, November 16). The public face of responses to campus sexual assault: A national study of college websites. Poster session. American Society of Criminology 73rd Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA.