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Does mandatory reporting hurt survivors of campus sexual assault?

May 8, 2018

College campuses have increasingly turned to mandatory reporting policies in response to campus sexual assault.
Credit EMMA WINOWIECKI / Michigan Radio

As awareness of the problem of sexual assault on college campuses grew over five years or so, what's one result?

Many colleges and universities have implemented so called "mandatory reporting" policies.

Nine of the 14 schools in the Big Ten, including Michigan State University, designate all employees as mandatory reporters. That means certain employees of a school must report any student disclosure of sexual assault to university officials and, in some cases, to police. That's with our without the survivor's consent.

A recent paper published in American Psychologist points to unanswered questions about mandatory reporting and the possibility of negative consequences for survivors and schools.

Kathryn Holland, the lead author of the paper, received her Ph.D. in psychology and women’s studies from the University of Michigan and is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Nebraska.

She joined Stateside to discuss the importance of implementing trauma-informed practices for individuals and institutions working with victims of sexual assault. She also broke down the assumptions that inform universities’ mandatory reporting policies and the cascading effects they have on students, faculty, and staff.

Listen above.

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