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University’s Title IX office, Women’s Resource Center slow to report rape claims to police

Three-month delays

Advocates for students who say they were sexually assaulted often argue against mandatory reporting of allegations to police, saying it will discourage victims from coming forward.

Then there’s the University of Illinois, whose Title IX office sometimes waited months before forwarding reports to university police, “despite the requirement that all sex crimes be reported immediately,” according to an investigation by The Daily Illini and CU-CitizenAccess, a project run by UI’s journalism school.

The school’s Women’s Resource Center also slow-walked reporting the allegations despite being a “mandated reporter”:

In fact, on Dec. 9, 2016, 15 of the year’s 89 alleged sex-related crimes were reported to the police by Title IX after a reminder email was sent to the Title IX office, campus security authorities and police departments. The dates of the 15 cases ranged from Dec. 6 as far back as Sept. 13.

The reminder email, obtained by CU-CitizenAccess and The Daily Illini through a Freedom of Information request, was sent on Nov. 16, 2016 …

After Dec. 9, the Women’s Resources Center sent over 10 additional reports.

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It’s not just campus organizations that are stalling in their reports: The Champaign (city) police will sometimes deliver a stack of rape reports to UIPD “all on the same day,” according to the investigation.

The long delays – some of which also emanate from students not reporting their claims promptly – mean that the community is not receiving “campus safety notices” in a timely manner. The investigation found that just one in three alleged sex crimes were reported within a week.

The administration responded to the investigation in an op-ed by the university police chief and Title IX director, which disputed that “any report is ignored.”

They said “the first step is supporting that person [who reports sexual assault] and providing the care they may need. That will always be our primary focus,” and the investigation ignored that.

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The op-ed also said the investigation conflated criminal allegations that must be reported under the Clery Act and those that do not fall under the law, “creating the mistaken impression that the campus community and family members are not receiving reports of incidents that should be reported under Clery”:

Not all reports of sexual misconduct received by various campus offices and personnel must be forwarded to University Police under the Clery Act. Responsible employees on campus are required to submit reports to the Title IX and Disability Office, who then reach out to survivors to offer resources, support services and information about their rights and options. …

To focus only on errant perceptions of compliance shortcomings ignores the university’s much broader effort to prevent sexual assault and care for survivors.

Read the investigation and university response.

MORE: UT tells police to hide evidence that helps accused students

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