*Please note: We anticipate all of the VRLC’s resources related to student sexual assault victims will need to be revised upon release of the Department of Education’s Title IX regulations. Because the regulations are only proposed at this point, our resources do not reflect any potential changes.
Examples of Trainings Offered by the VRLC
In the U.S., more than half of all reported sexual assaults occur against persons aged 12–24, with adolescents aged 12–17 accounting for one in five of all sexual assault reports. Middle school, high school, and college-age victims of sexual assault often do not report to law enforcement, but rather turn to their schools (due to familiarity and trust) for accommodations or to participate in their disciplinary processes. With the publication of the Office for Civil Rights April 2011 Dear Colleague Letter clarifying schools’ obligations under Title IX, campus response to victims of sexual assault has been a topic of unprecedented scrutiny.
At the VRLC, our staff attorneys represent victims of sexual assault in a wide variety of education law cases in Massachusetts and Oregon. We help victims navigate the conduct process – requesting accommodations, reviewing and explaining school policies, preparing for hearings, working with school administrators and if necessary filing U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights complaints – in an effort to help sexual assault victims return to the trajectory they were on preassault.
As an insider to the process, VRLC attorneys have consistently seen where schools get it right, and where they often get it wrong. Based on this rare firsthand experience, theVRLC provides consultations and trainings with state and national agencies, colleges and universities and other legal service providers around the country to improve their response to sexual violence.
Realities of Sexual Violence on Campus (60 to 90 minutes)
Using the most foundational research and studies available, this presentation provides an understanding of who victims are, who perpetrators are and how sexual violence is committed, helping campuses to better use their resources to train staff, faculty and students.
Sexual Misconduct Policy Examples and Best Practices (90 to 120 minutes)
Every campus has its own unique character, beliefs and values. This presentation highlights examples of other campus policies that illustrate the intersection of their school’s personality and combating violence against women on campus. Sections include:
- Definitions of Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Stalking, Sexual Exploitation
Hostile Environment: Defining, Preventing and Remedying Retaliation (90 minutes)
Title IX requires that, upon learning of a hostile environment, colleges and universities eliminate the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. This presentation will help campuses define when a hostile environment exists, understand their legal obligations under Title IX when they’ve identified a hostile environment, and learn best practices campuses can use to use to address it and ensure victims’ safety. The training includes updated language from the FAQs released by the Office for Civil Rights in April 2014, as well as guidance from the April 2011 Dear Colleague Letter.
Navigating Title IX, Clery and FERPA: Where to Begin (90 to 120 minutes)
Campuses are required to comply with a multitude of federal laws regarding sexual violence response. With few exceptions, the Clery Act, FERPA and Title IX often do not contemplate 1) their intersections or 2) how to proceed when there is a conflict. This presentation maps out where the intersections occur and best practices of how campuses are complying.
Beyond the Policy: Effectively Responding to Sexual Assault on Campus (2 hours)
Drawing from representation of individual victims and our experiences within the OCR process, this presentation focuses on the top implementation problems campuses face when executing their policy. Examples include:
- Confusion around the role of the Title IX Coordinator
- “He said/She said” investigations
- Dynamics of judicial panels
- Lack of sexual assault response teams, how multidisciplinary players work together
- Appeals process
- University of Montana Resolution Letter (2013) – lessons to be learned
Confidential Reporting: Understanding and Implementing Your Campus Response Process
With the release of the April 29, 2014 Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights “Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence”, there is new guidance on the need for campus sexual violence response processes. Sexual violence victims often require additional time and services before making decisions about whether to make a formal complaint to either the campus administration or law enforcement. Utilizing the new OCR FAQ, this interactive presentation will outline the differing reasons victims request confidentiality, what roles and obligations campus employees have and how campuses can best communicate to their communities what those roles are. Participants will consider a number of case studies and use group discussion to determine each process.
Campus Safety Risk Assessment: Understanding and Implementing Your Campus Response Process
Campus sexual assault victims may find that their disclosure must be reported to the Title IX Coordinator, but request that the campus maintain their confidentiality and not pursue a formal complaint against – or even notify – the accused student. Building off of the “Confidential Reporting” presentation and guidance from the OCR “Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence”, this interactive workshop will discuss what safety risk analysis factors campuses should consider, who should consider them and what the process looks like for honoring (or not) the confidentiality request. Participants will consider a number of case studies and use group discussion to walk through the factors and next steps.
Other Education Services
- Sexual Assault Policy and Process Assessments
- Faculty/staff/student trainings on Title IX obligations
- Intersections of Title IX and Campus Law Enforcement
To learn more about our trainings, availability, or to receive a proposal, please contact Lindy Aldrich, Esq. at (617) 399-6720 x10 or firstname.lastname@example.org.