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December 10, 2019

ABA Commission offers colleges best practices for student-on-student gender-based violence complaints

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2019 — The American Bar Association Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence has released a new report with recommendations on how to handle gender-based violence complaints involving sexual harassment, rape, stalking or domestic violence between students.

The report is the result of a three-year project that was based on a national survey, research, interviews, and focus groups with higher education professionals from several college campuses.

The study provides colleges with detailed best practices for handling student-on-student gender-based violence complaints and does not deal with complaints involving faculty or staff.

The views expressed in the report are those of the Commission only. They have not been approved by the ABA House of Delegates or ABA Board of Governors and do not represent the position of the ABA.

“Too many college students—predominantly women but also a significant number of men—have their lives and educations disrupted by sexual assault,” said Andrew King-Ries, chair of the Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence.  “Responding to gender-based violence is challenging for higher education institutions but is also critical to ensuring that campuses are safe, offenders are held accountable, and survivors are able to heal and continue their educations.” 

The report goes beyond best practices for conducting  investigations and hearings and includes  prevention strategies. Recommendations are divided into three sections: Establishing a Comprehensive Response System; Investigation Practices; and Post-Investigation Matters.

The full report, “Recommendations for Improving Campus Student  Conduct Processes for Gender-Based Violence,” is available here

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