U.S. issues guidance on sexual violence

April 4, 2011 at 3:16 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 4 (UPI) -- The Obama administration has issued guidance for colleges and universities on their responsibilities under Title IX to protect students from sexual violence.

On Monday, Vice President Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan introduced comprehensive guidelines to help schools better understand their obligations under federal civil rights laws to prevent and respond to campus sexual assault, a White House release said.

Under Title IX , which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities, discrimination can include sexual violence, such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery and sexual coercion.

"Today we are strengthening our response to sexual assault in schools and on college campuses," Biden said in announcing the federal guidance at the University of New Hampshire. "Students across the country deserve the safest possible environment in which to learn. That's why we're taking new steps to help our nation's schools, universities and colleges end the cycle of sexual violence on campus."

The guidelines detail enforcement strategies that schools and the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights may use to end sexual violence, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects.

"Every school would like to believe it is immune from sexual violence but the facts suggest otherwise," Duncan said. "Our first goal is prevention through education. Information is always the best way to combat sexual violence. Our larger goal is to raise awareness to an issue that should have no place in society and especially in our schools."

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