Audit, Compliance and Risk Blog

Violence Against Women Act: Expanded Security Requirements On Campus

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, Mar 26, 2013 this month, President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, which renews and revises a wide variety of federal regulatory and grant programs intended to reduce gender-related violence against women. Although many of these protective measures are workplace-related, the amendments also expand protections for students at 99% of the nation’s colleges and universities (those that receive “Title IV” money from the U.S. Department of Education). These schools must comply with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) by providing an Annual Security Report each October 1.

The 2013 amendments expand requirements that date back over twenty years – the most recent previous amendments followed the Virginia Tech massacre in April 2007. Each school’s Annual Security Report must provide the following:

  • Crime statistics for the three past years, covering specified crimes, plus arrests and campus discipline cases for liquor law violations, drug law violations, and illegal weapons possession. Schools must also identify whether a crime was a hate crime

  • Statements of current campus protection policies, and policies to inform students about campus crime and safety precautions

  • Statement of any campus policy about “timely warnings” to “aid in the prevention of similar crimes,” to be made to the campus community after a crime or hate crime

  • Statement of policy regarding notification to sexual assault victims of specific rights and practices conferred by the Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights (passed as an amendment to the Clery Act in 1991)

  • Daily crime log, which must be written and readily accessible (required only if the institution has a campus police or security department)

  • Community notification disclosing where information can be obtained on any registered sex offenders enrolled at, working at, or volunteering at the institution

  • Statement of current campus policies regarding immediate emergency response and evacuation procedures, including notifications of emergencies (using electronic and cellular communication if appropriate) (effective with 2010 report)

  • Statement of policy regarding missing student notification procedures covering students in any on-campus student housing facility (effective with 2010 report)

  • Statement of policy and programs to prevent domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking (effective with 2014 report).

Each school must submit its annual report to the Department of Education, and make it available online or in hard copy to all present and prospective employees and enrolled and prospective students. The Department of Education publishes summaries of these reports on the Internet, and has created a searchable online database to access data on each school.

Note that the Clery Act does not require colleges or universities to undertake any particular security measures; instead, schools must describe procedures they have developed to address crimes, and provide data about crimes that occur. Despite the mandates of the Clery Act, many studies indicate widespread non-compliance. Many colleges read the Clery Act as narrowly as possible or do not give compliance the time and attention required for the myriad provisions of this law and its regulations.

Implementation Checklist

The following list provides information about post-secondary institutions’ Cleary Act reporting requirements. If you work at one, this can help prepare for compliance. If you or a loved one attend such an institution, this can help evaluate that school’s safety and security situation and policies.

Is the organization a college or university required by the Clery Act to make certain crime prevention and reporting efforts? 

If so, does it publish an Annual Security Report?

Does the report include three years of statistics on specified crimes (murder and non-negligent manslaughter, negligent manslaughter, sex offenses (forcible and non-forcible), robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, arson, liquor law violations, drug law violations, and illegal weapons possession) reported to local police agencies or the campus security authority, that occur in the following locales:

  • On campus?

  • On campus, in dormitories or other residential facilities?

  • In or on associated “non-campus building or property” including property owned by institution-recognized student organization (such as fraternity house), or on remote facilities of the institution?

  • On public property adjacent to or within the campus?

Does it contain statements regarding each of the following crime prevention policies and programs:

  • Formal procedures for students and others to report criminal actions or other emergencies, and a formal policy encouraging such reporting

  • Policies for responding to these reports, including “timely warnings” to help prevent similar crimes, and/or that identify when the reported crime represents a threat to students and employees

  • Policies regarding campus access and security, including the authority of the campus security department and its relation to law enforcement agencies

  • Instructions to students and employees regarding campus security procedures, and their responsibility for safety and security

  • Policies, and educational and counseling referral programs about alcohol and drug abuse

  • Policies, educational and counseling referral programs, and disciplinary procedures addressing sexual misconduct

  • Policies regarding immediate emergency notification, response and evacuation procedures
    • If so, do they include electronic and/or cellular communications?

  • Policies regarding notification if a student who lives in on-campus housing is missing

  • Notification where community members can locate and obtain registry information about convicted sex offenders who live, work, study, or volunteer on campus

  • Statement of policy and programs to prevent domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking (required effective with 2014 report).

Where Can I Go For More Information?

About the Author Elliott is President of Touchstone Environmental and has been a major contributor to STP’s product range for over 25 years. He was involved in developing 16 existing products,including Workplace Violence Prevention: A Practical Guide to Security on the Job,Securities Law and Directors' and Officers' Liability.

Mr. Elliott has a diverse educational background. In addition to his Juris Doctor (University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law, 1981), he holds a Master of Public Policy (Goldman School of Public Policy [GSPP], UC Berkeley, 1980), and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (Princeton University, 1977).

Mr. Elliott is active in professional and community organizations. In addition, he is a past chairman of the Board of Directors of the GSPP Alumni Association, and past member of the Executive Committee of the State Bar of California's Environmental Law Section (including past chair of its Legislative Committee).

You may contact Mr. Elliott directly at:

Tags: Employer Best Practices, Health & Safety, Workplace violence