Friday, January 23, 2015

Frequency of Sexual Assault on College Campuses

Without question, a single sexual assault on a college or university campus (or anywhere else for that matter) is one too many. Nevertheless, the frequency of sexual assaults has taken a central place in political and legal debates over the policies and regulations that should govern colleges and universities.

While numerous studies exist, three in particular are at the epicenter of these debates:

The studies reached radically different conclusions about the frequency of sexual assaults among college students. For example, the CSA study concluded that one in five women (20 percent) experience a sexual assault in college. The NCVS study put the number at six out of a thousand (0.6 percent). That's quite a difference.

Differences in methodology, framing of questions, and definitions might explain some of the discrepancy between the various numbers. The NCVS report has an illuminating discussion of some of these differences for those that are interested.

Like many social science questions, further study will hopefully cast more light on this important question.

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