The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights’ backlog in completing campus sexual assault investigations is causing concern among sexual assault victims and advocates according to an Associated Press article.
Last month I wrote that OCR reported that they can take over four years to complete their investigation of campus sexual assault complaints. OCR indicated in their report that the length of time it was taking them was due to the complexity of the cases, the increased number of case filings, and inadequate funding. They also outlined all of the elements that go into a campus sexual assault investigation.
In my post I questioned whether OCR had considered streamlining or abandoning certain aspects of their investigation of a complaint in the interest of providing a more timely response to not only the complainant but also the responding college/university. An answer to this question is contained in the AP article written by Juliet Linderman.
In her article Ms. Linderman writes that the Office for Civil Rights has recently changed its method of conducting investigations of Title IX sexual assault complaints. Rather than focusing of the particulars of a complaint, the Office for Civil Rights is now using a Title IX complaint as a basis to conduct a comprehensive review of a higher educational institution’s compliance with Title IX. This change in practice was not mentioned in OCR’s response to Senator Boxer as potentially one of the causes for the delays in processing Title IX complaints.
As was noted in Ms. Linderman’s article, these delays in processing complaints is causing concern among sexual assault victims and advocates. It remains to be seen whether the Office for Civil Rights will revisit its practice for reviewing Title IX complaints in order to provide a more expedited review.
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