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National Center for Campus Public Safety

Challenges in Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence at American Community Colleges

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Sexual violence on college campuses is a significant issue for institutions of higher education (IHEs), but one sector — community colleges — is often overlooked in the growing national discussion. These institutions, which number over a thousand, face challenges regarding prevention and response to sexual violence on their campuses. Due to their open-access, many have special facilities challenges related to maintaining the safety of students and employees. They also struggle to adapt to and implement regulations that are typically designed for traditional four-year colleges and universities. 

To identify the areas of critical need for community colleges regarding prevention and response to sexual violence, as well as to elicit recommendations to mitigate those challenges, the National Center for Campus Public Safety (NCCPS) partnered with the American Association for Women in Community Colleges (AAWCC) to facilitate an emerging issues forum on April 12, 2016. The group included 18 safety leaders from 14 community colleges across the nation.

Forum participants discussed four types of challenges community colleges face relating to the prevention of and response to sexual violence on campus: nonstandard physical security; cumbersome compliance; cultural barriers; and lack of resources, education, training, and support services. The group also worked to develop a broad array of recommendations for addressing the challenges community colleges face relating to preventing and responding to sexual violence on their campuses. 


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National Center for Campus Public Safety
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