Title IX and Campus Sexual Assault Attorneys in Raleigh-Durham
One in five female college students this year is expected to be sexually assaulted during the course of trying to get an education, according to statistics provided by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center and a 2007 report by the U.S. Department of Justice. As lawyers who represent victims of crime, not their perpetrators, we want to make sure that your child gets through college safely, without ever being sexually assaulted and without ever being afraid.
How to stay safe on campus
There are many ways that students can learn to stay safe on campus. For example, students should always stay together when going to parties, concerts, or other events. Because perpetrators of sexual assaults sometimes use powerful drugs to make it easier, students should avoid drinking out of common containers like bowls and should avoid drinks that were prepared by someone else or left unattended. Students should take care not to let each other get isolated by a male when attending a party. The line “do you want to go somewhere more quiet so we can talk?” can be a prelude to rape. Students of any age should be wary of teachers and professors who show a special interest in them. It may be that the teacher/professor is truly interested in their talent, or it could be something entirely NOT academic.
What does the law say?
Schools that receive federal funds are required to abide by Title IX of the Civil Rights Act. Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program receiving federal funding. Title IX applies to all federally funded education programs, including elementary and secondary schools and colleges and universities.
There are many requirements for schools, colleges, and universities to comply with Title IX. They include training all employees on how to address sexual assault complaints, having a clear policy for students making reports of sexual assault, having a fair process to deal with reports of sexual assault, and refusing to retaliate against or punish someone who makes a complaint of sexual violence or assault.
Anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault at a school that receives federal financial assistance, or who believes that they have been otherwise discriminated against on the basis of their sex, may file a complaint.
Does the law just protect girls and women?
No. Title IX protects all students from sex-based discrimination, regardless of their sex, gender identity, and/or gender expression.
How do I know if my college campus is safe?
The Clery Act is a federal law aimed at making college campuses safer by requiring colleges and universities to disclose their security policies, keep statistics about crimes, and publish reports and warnings about imminent crimes and threats to students. The Clery Act also requires the U.S. Department of Education to collect and disseminate information on campus crimes. While the goal of the Clery Act is to make every campus safe, ensuring compliance can be difficult, and some schools may not be complying. In addition, there may be exceptions to the Clery Act’s coverage. For example, sometimes schools do not have jurisdiction over entities like fraternities because they own their own properties. If a violent incident occurred off-campus there still may be a legal remedy, but it is important to contact a Title IX lawyer with experience to figure out what the options are.
What if I or my child was assaulted?
Information on protecting students from sexual assault may be found on the U.S. Department of Justice’s website. There are a number of national hotlines you may call if you are a victim of a sexual assault. Your school should have a policy describing the process for reporting an incident of sexual assault. The guidelines should be clear and give the name, title, and contact information of who to contact. There should be instructions for contacting campus authorities and off-campus law enforcement. As experienced Title IX lawyers, we can help you navigate your school’s policy for reporting both to on-campus authorities and off-campus law enforcement, as well as making a complaint under Title IX and filing a lawsuit if necessary.
We even have a Podcast! Copeley Johnson & Groninger’s Valerie Johnson and Leto Copeley are the Law Sisters. Mixing legal information with entertainment, The Law Sisters give important safety and legal information and discuss all things sex in the workplace. Click on the image to listen to Episode 12: Sexual Assault on College Campuses.
Our clients with claims handled by our Title IX lawyers include:
- A girl who whose teacher took pictures of her wearing adult boots that are used in the adult entertainment industry. The teacher photographed many children at school for over a decade, but his conduct was never investigated despite suspicious behavior. He was eventually caught when an FBI agent recognized the name of the school that was printed on the T-shirt of one of his student victims. After we filed a lawsuit, it was discovered that the school did not have any official policies or training programs about sexual assault. Instead, the principal of the school said he just went by his feelings to know whether someone was a child molester or not.
- A university student who was sexually assaulted by her professor. We contended that the school did not have sufficient training for staff or students in the recognition of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct by faculty.
- An elementary school student who was assaulted by his female teacher. We contend that the school overlooked numerous signs that the teacher was molesting the child, including the fact that she brought him into her trailer alone with her and kept the door locked, and she was allowed to take him home from school without permission.
Our lawyers are here to help
If you or one of your family members was a victim of a sexual assault or sexual harassment on campus, our lawyers are here to help. In addition to providing support to you and your family member during this very difficult time, we can assist you with navigating the legal system. We can help you approach the campus authorities and law enforcement to report the assault. We can also assist you in making a Title IX complaint and filing a lawsuit if necessary. It can be difficult to speak up if you have been a victim of sexual assault. Our campus sexual assault lawyers understand and have helped other victims of sexual assault to report the violence against them and hold the perpetrator and the school responsible.