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A 2014 State Audit Tackled Sexual Violence On College Campuses. Gaps Remain. This Is What's Changed

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A 2014 California State audit that looked into how colleges and universities in California responded to reports of of sexual harassment and sexual violence drew a blunt conclusion: “California Universities Must Better Protect Students by Doing More to Prevent, Respond to, and Resolve Incidents.”

“We had so little programming around sexual violence before the audit,” said Doreen Mattingly, an emeritus professor of women’s studies at San Diego State. “Students didn't know where to report. They didn't know what the reporting process was.”

The audit targeted Chico State, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and San Diego State and issued dozens of recommendations for these campuses, University of California and California State University system administrators, as well as state legislators.

It’s been more than six years since those recommendations urged regular training of students and employees and that administrators take steps to inform those students and employees of university policies and practices regarding sexual violence. Campus interviews suggest substantive changes have taken place -- but big gaps remain.

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Perhaps chief among them continues to be underreporting of sexual violence. While campuses have made reforms, it’s widely understood that reports of sexual violence are only the tip of the iceberg of total incidents.

“We know that the vast majority of individuals who experience some type of violence do not report it,” said Jennifer Wagman, a professor in the department of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.. “It's been estimated that maybe 10%, maximum, of victims or survivors of assault or misconduct report to anyone.”

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