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DePaul releases data report on preventing sexual violence

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DePaul is releasing its first annual Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act Annual Report, information the university provided to the state this month on university policy and data related to reports of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking involving students.

The report, which covers the calendar year 2016, was submitted to the Illinois Attorney General's Office and Illinois Department of Human Rights, as required under the Illinois Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act.

"DePaul is committed to complying with state and federal laws that ensure accountability on this important issue affecting students' lives," says Title IX Coordinator Karen Tamburro. "In the interest of transparency, we are sharing our Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act Annual Report with the DePaul community."

The state report contains data on complaints about sexual violence, domestic violence or dating violence and stalking involving students reported to DePaul's Title IX office, regardless of where the incident occurred. This differs from data the university collects under the Clery Act that counts incidents of crimes that occur in specific locations mandated by federal law, mostly on campus or in the immediate surrounding area, but not most off-campus incidents.

DePaul's Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act Annual Report demonstrates the range of responses that the university makes available to a survivor. On-campus and off-campus resources and a description of the range of options are available every time someone reports sexual violence. Survivors also can request a range of assistance, including a change in on-campus residence, a connection to counseling or an academic adjustment, such as administrative withdrawal, extension of time on an assignment or exam, or an alternate assignment. Other responses also could include assistance with reporting to local law enforcement, investigation, and review through the Student Conduct Process or other university policies and procedures.

"Where possible, DePaul respects and follows the requests of survivors when determining the level of our response to a report of sexual violence," Tamburro says.

In September, the Department of Education indicated that it would review and revamp Title IX guidance for universities' response to campus sexual assault. Regardless of that outcome, DePaul has pledged to continue fostering a culture of respect, responsibility and safety and to continue responding to issues of sexual and relationship violence promptly and equitably.

Currently, Title IX holds all employees who are not designated as confidential reporting resources accountable for reporting incidents of sexual violence, other sexual discrimination and harassment to the university's Title IX coordinator. An overview of various policies, procedures, resources, and supports can be found in DePaul's Sexual and Relationship Violence Information Sheet.

The Title IX coordinator, the Dean of Students Office, the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness and other offices work together to prevent and respond to sexual and relationship violence. The Title IX coordinator monitors and oversees overall campus-wide implementation of Title IX including training, education, communications and administration of complaint procedures for faculty, staff, students and third parties. The Dean of Students, who is a deputy Title IX coordinator, oversees the Student Conduct Process. Health, Promotion and Wellness offers confidential support and resources to survivors and promotes year-round prevention programming.

Health, Promotion and Wellness leads many programs to support survivors and provide education around sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, consent, healthy relationships and bystander intervention. Support and education are provided to the entire DePaul community: students, staff and faculty. These offices partner with other university stakeholders on a variety of programming and training.

This fall, HPW hosted student programming on relationship violence prevention and positive, healthy sexual relationships and promoted a contest for students to share on social media how they ask for consent. HPW also delivers presentations on sexual and relationship violence prevention and response by request to campus partners and student groups.

"We want students and our faculty and staff partners around campus who engage in our programming to leave with a greater understanding of how to prevent sexual and relationship violence and how to support survivors," says Hannah Retzkin, HPW's sexual and relationship violence prevention specialist.

For more information, visit DePaul's Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act Annual Report, the Title IX website or the Sexual and Relationship Violence Prevention website.  ​ 

DePaul University statement regarding sexual and relationship violence:

Every member of the DePaul University community has the right to safety from the threat of sexual and relationship violence. Grounded in our commitment to valuing the dignity of all people, DePaul fosters a culture of respect and safety by implementing best practices in education, prevention, and holistic support and care. DePaul does not tolerate sexual and relationship violence and addresses incidents swiftly and equitably.