Not On The Radar: Sexual Assault of College Students With Disabilities released
January 30, 2018
Washington, DC – The National Council on Disability (NCD) – an independent federal advisory body – today will release and discuss the results of a national study on college sexual assault policies and federal research as they pertain to student victims with disabilities during a policy briefing sponsored by the American University Sexual Assault Working Group. The briefing will take place at American University.
NCD’s study found that students with disabilities are not “on the radar” of colleges in their sexual assault prevention efforts, policies, or procedures for response and support after an assault. This includes the absence of procedures to communicate with victims who are Deaf or hard of hearing and inaccessible support services for students with mobility disabilities. NCD’s study further found that students with disabilities are invisible in federal research programs on campus sexual assault. These findings are against the backdrop of a recent study by the Association of American Universities that revealed that 31.6 percent of undergraduate females with disabilities reported nonconsensual sexual contact involving physical force or incapacitation, compared to 18.4 percent of undergraduate females without a disability.
The findings and recommendations in the resulting report, Not on the Radar: Sexual Assault of College Students with Disabilities, are the product of interviews with experts on sexual assault on college campuses, experts on sexual abuse against people with disabilities, college professionals and staff, Title IX coordinators, and sexual assault services administrators; as well as two national questionnaires that included college students with disabilities. Colleges that participated came from 14 states and the District of Columbia, 7 of 10 federal regions, 2-year and 4-year colleges, and both private and public.
“Sexual assault has become a topic of concern on campuses and with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, but seldom has the conversation included consideration of the needs of college students with disabilities,” said Wendy Harbour, NCD Council Member and Director of the National Center for College Students with Disabilities. “One campus said students with disabilities were not ‘on their radar,’ but it's time to change that and make national conversations more inclusive."
Report Quick Takes:
*Colleges lack policies and procedures to ensure disability-related supports are readily available to students to communicate with sexual assault first responders.
A small sampling of the report’s recommendations includes:
*NCD recommends that Congress amend the Clery Act to:
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