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Campus sexual assault

Ensuring that investigations of campus sexual misconduct are reflective of psychological science

APA helped draft, and has endorsed, legislation that would minimize re-traumatization from campus sexual misconduct investigations.

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American Psychological Association. (2020, September 3). Ensuring that investigations of campus sexual misconduct are reflective of psychological science.

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APA has endorsed the Trauma-Informed Investigations Act (H.R. 8136)—introduced by Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich.,—which would ensure that all investigations of sexual misconduct on college and university campuses are “trauma-informed” and, for the first time, defines them in federal law. The legislation was introduced several weeks after the Department of Education’s new Title IX regulations went into effect. APA voiced opposition to the rule before it was finalized in May.

APA staff worked closely with Rep. Slotkin’s office throughout the process of drafting her bill to incorporate psychological science and research. Tapping into the expertise of its membership, APA provided the congresswoman’s staff the definition for “trauma-informed investigations,” which would recognize all of the potential challenges related to trauma exposure—emotional, behavioral, developmental, and legal—and minimize any further trauma victims may experience.

"The American Psychological Association commends Representative Slotkin for introducing this bill to help ensure that any investigation of sexual violence on a college campus is trauma-informed and rooted in evidence-based procedures,” said Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, CEO of the American Psychological Association. “Implementing these practices will minimize further trauma to victims and make college campuses safer and welcoming for all students."

For more information, contact Kenneth Polishchuk.

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