Colleges and universities have a legal duty to maintain the safety of students, staff, faculty, and visitors on their campuses. When they fail in this duty, they need to be held accountable.
If you were sexually abused at school, understand that you can hold both the perpetrator and the school liable for your injuries.
Under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, organizations that receive any amount of federal funding are prohibited from allowing sex-based discrimination. Instances of sexual abuse are covered under Title IX, and the college or university can be held liable for violating your rights under Title IX and for the conduct of its employees.
Holding Colleges and Universities Liable for Sexual Abuse on Campus
Victims of sexual abuse on campus can present various legal theories to hold schools and colleges accountable.
Colleges and Universities Are Liable for Sexual Abuse Under Title IX
Almost all colleges and universities in the United States receive federal money. Whether they receive scholarships, grants, or other federal funding, they can all be held liable for violating a student’s Title IX rights, regardless of whether the perpetrator is another student, or a faculty or staff member.
If a school fails to provide adequate measures to prevent sexual abuse on campus, the school can be held liable.
School Handbook Identifies Measures to Prevent Sexual Assault
Many schools claim they cannot be liable for the abuse if they were unaware of it. But they all have safety measures in place that are intended to prevent sexual abuse on campus. Preventative measures should include hiring security guards, performing thorough background checks of staff, and installing call boxes and security cameras on campus. The school can be liable for negligence if it failed to comply with the safety measures identified in its own student handbook, or if the school has no measures in place to prevent sexual abuse.
Universities should also ensure that students feel safe enough to approach school administrators after an event of sexual abuse, and by educating students on how to recognize the signs of sexual abuse.
Schools and universities need to take steps to prevent sexual abuse on campus and would be naive to claim that they were unaware of the possibility of it occurring.
What To Do If You Suffered Sexual Assault on Campus
If you were a victim of student sexual abuse, you should start by reporting the incident to school administrators. Unfortunately, many students who report sexual abuse on campus are met with hostility. Administrators may not take allegations of abuse seriously and may decline to investigate the incident.
When a school or university fails to adequately investigate or respond to allegations of sexual abuse, you need to contact an attorney. The experienced campus sexual abuse lawyers at Ronebalt Law will explain your rights, explore your options, and help you navigate the process of holding the college or university responsible. This may involve internal processes and hearings through the school, as well as a civil lawsuit against the university and the perpetrators of the abuse.
You may also consider filing a claim with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR is a federal agency tasked with enforcing federal civil rights claims. A claim with the OCR must be filed within 180 days o the last day of the discrimination. If you approached school administrators and they ignored you, you have 180 days from your last contact with them in which to file a claim with the OCR.
When the School Discourages You from Filing a Sexual Abuse Claim
In some instances, school administrators will discourage you from filing a sexual abuse claim. They may prefer to handle the claim informally, and may even make it seem like it is in your interest not to file a claim.
However, the school has a legal obligation to inform you of your right t report the assault. It must also provide accommodations and file a Title IX report if the school declines to take action.
How a Lawyer Can Help
The lawyers at Robenalt Law are here to help victims of campus sexual abuse. We will explain your rights, ensure that the school or university provides appropriate accommodations, and help you recover financial compensation for your injuries.
If you were a victim of sexual assault on campus, you are entitled to financial compensation. In addition, filing a claim under Title IX can lead to changes in campus policies and procedures. Our lawyers can also help you take action directly against the perpetrator of the sexual assault.
Put our experience to work for you by letting us investigate your situation. Learn why people choose us and contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case and how we can help.
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