Sexual assaults are distressingly common on universities and college campuses throughout the United States. A 2015 survey indicated that one out of every 10 students has experienced sexual violence since starting college — and up to 90% of those are from someone the victim knows.

Colleges and universities have a certain obligation to provide a safe environment for students. While they can’t police every situation, they can take steps that will go a long way toward keeping vulnerable people safe while they’re on campus grounds. Those steps might include:

  • Increasing on-campus security: Having security officers in uniform, patrolling and otherwise staying in highly visible locations can help create a sense that students and guests need to be on their best behavior. Plus, students will then know that they are seldom too far away to call security for assistance whenever necessary.
  • Residential interventions: Responsible residential advisors (RAs) who enforce rules inside dorms and make sure that they’re available for their students can also add to the sense that someone in authority is always close at hand.
  • Limiting risky residents: It could be irresponsible of a school to allow a student with a history of sexual transgressions to live in campus housing where they’re in close contact with potential victims.
  • Additional help stations: Some universities have installed call boxes in every area of the campus. With a touch, students who are feeling threatened can alert security that there’s a problem and convey their location.
  • Communication of risk: If there have been sexual assaults on campus, schools need to put student safety ahead of their reputations and get the news out.

If a school fails to live up to its duty to keep students safe from sexual predators by hiding a problem or simply failing to respond and your loved one is sexually assaulted, find out more about your legal rights.