Violence Against Women Act Of 2013 Creates New Clery Act Compliance Obligations

On March 7, 2013, President Obama signed into law the reauthorized Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 2013. The bill includes several important amendments to the Clery Act, which will require institutions of higher education to expand their reporting of crime statistics and revise their policies and procedures to address acts of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.

Specifically, institutions must comply with the following additional requirements under the amendments to the Clery Act:

  • collect and publish in the Annual Security Report (ASR) statistics on incidents of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking that are reported to campus security authorities or local police agencies
  • expand the definition of reportable hate crimes to include Clery crimes motivated by bias against a victim’s national origin or gender identity
  • revise policies and procedures to include the establishment of educational prevention and awareness programs that address issues of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking for all incoming students and new employees
  • develop step-by-step procedures for the reporting, investigation and adjudication of reports of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, including information on confidentiality and privacy; preservation of evidence; on-campus and community counseling, health, and support services available; and the standard of evidence to be used during any institutional adjudication proceedings. These policies and procedures must be published in the ASR.

The amendments will take effect in Spring 2014 and therefore will apply to the 2014 ASR.

In order to achieve compliance with the Clery Act, institutions should revise their procedures for collecting campus crime statistics to track reports of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking (as those terms are defined in Section 40002(a) of the VAWA) for inclusion in the 2014 ASR. Institutions also should review and update their campus education programs to include content that addresses domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, in accordance with the specific requirements set forth in the VAWA amendments.

The Pepper Hamilton/Freeh Group Education Counseling, Litigation and Investigation Services Team has a broad range of experience with respect to Clery Act compliance and can assist with revising policies or developing appropriate education programs to comply with the requirements in the VAWA amendments.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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