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Top 10 Recommendations for Schools Looking to Address the Problem

Preventing sexual assault is a big goal. And yet, with these actions your school will be that much closer to preventing cases of sexual assault and responding fairly when they do happen.

  1. Educate yourself on the prevalence of sexual violence among middle and high school students. One in five students will suffer sexual violence before graduating from high school. And 81% of students will experience some form of sexual harassment before they graduate. With these statistics in mind, conduct a climate survey to better understand the prevalence of sexual violence at your school. 
  1. Implement a curriculum designed to teach healthy relationships and consent to students. Equipping every member of your community with best practices in healthy relationships and consent is a building block to preventing assault.
  1. Mandate training in sexual assault prevention and trauma-informed care for all faculty, staff, and coaches in alignment with the school’s mission and core values. When they know what signs to look for, educators can be the first line of defense in helping a student get the help they need after an assault or ongoing abuse. 
  1. Lead a campaign to take the I Have The Right To Challenge: any school that gets 100% of its students, faculty, and staff to sign the I Have The Right To Pledge will receive I Have The Right To swag, resources, plus special recognition from its leaders. 
  1. Conduct a review of internal policies and processes as they relate to sexual assault and prevention. These should include background checks and applicant screening, reporting procedures, policies to limit educators from being alone with students, and processes for responding to allegations. Clearly communicate all policies (and, if you receive federal funding, the name and contact information of your school’s Title IX coordinator) to students, parents, faculty, and staff. Every member of your faculty and staff should be ready to answer these questions if asked by a student or parent. 
  1. Educate all administrators, educators, and counselors on their role as mandatory reporters. Any adult who works with minors is legally responsible to report allegations or disclosed abuse. This is a responsibility that must not be taken lightly.
  1. Respond to allegations of sexual assault fairly and transparently. False reporting occurs in anywhere between 2% and 10% of cases. If a student is alleging assault, it most likely happened as they describe. Believe them and support them.
  1. In each and every decision when responding to an allegation, consider whether the decision protects the school’s reputation over the safety of your students, including the survivor. If the answer is yes, go back to the drawing board.
  1. Lean on local child advocacy centers and sexual/domestic violence groups as a resource and partner in the prevention of sexual assault and support when it does happen. These groups have advocates who can periodically visit your school to provide an extra layer of support to your students.
  1. Engage I Have The Right To for customized counsel, curated curricula, and targeted training for students, faculty, and staff, all to ensure every student feels safe in your halls. Contact us to learn more.
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