Complaints of sexual violence on college campuses to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights have grown significantly in the past six years, according to newly released data.
The number of sexual violence complaints filed with the department grew from just 9 in 2009 to 102 in 2014, reflecting both a growth in awareness of sexual violence on college campuses and the lack of resources available to investigate colleges who mishandle the problem. The number looks set to grow even more this year, with 68 complaints filed so far in 2015.
The department reported the data in a letter to Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Tim Kaine (D-VA), who had requested more transparency on the issue. The letter also requested additional funds from Congress to deal with the growing caseload. The average length of investigations into sexual violence complaints have increased from 379 days in 2009 to 1,469 days in 2014, largely due to the increased caseload. The average duration of investigations completed so far this year has been 940 days.
In statements responding to the letter, the Senators urged Congress to dedicate more funding to the department’s efforts. “This new data makes clear why the Education Department must step up its efforts to address the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses, and why Congress must ensure it has the resources it needs to protect students,” Senator Boxer said.