Until the Department has published the final regulations, institutions should use the statute as the basis for revising or developing policies, procedures, and programs in advance of the ASR that must be issued by October 1, 2014.
For example, the statute requires institutions to specify in their ASRs the procedures that they will follow once an incident of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking has been reported, including a statement of the standard of evidence that will be used during any institutional conduct proceeding arising from such a report. Accordingly, as part of a good-faith effort to comply with the statute, institutions are expected to revise their policy statements to include those procedures and to identify the standard of evidence that the institution will use. Similarly, the statute requires institutions to include in their ASRs expanded information about a victim’s options for, and available assistance in, changing academic, living, transportation, and working situations if requested and reasonably available, regardless of whether the victim chooses to report the crime to campus police or local law enforcement. To show a good-faith effort, institutions are expected to expand their existing policy statements to include information about how the institution will facilitate changes in a victim’s transportation and working situations, in addition to academic and living situations, if requested by the victim.
The HEA defines the new crime categories of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in accordance with section 40002(a) of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 as follows:
“Domestic violence” means a “felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by
- a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim,
- a person with whom the victim shares a child in common,
- a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner,
- a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies [under VAWA], or
- any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.”
“Dating violence” means “violence committed by a person—
- who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
- where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
- – the length of the relationship;
- – the type of relationship; and
- – the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.”
“Stalking” means “engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to—
- fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or
- suffer substantial emotional distress.”
Institutions must make a good-faith effort to include these statistics for these crimes for calendar year 2013 in the ASR that must be issued later this year. Institutions must also make a good-faith effort to ensure that the statistics for the new crime categories are accurate and complete; however, USDE understands that institutions may not have complete statistics for 2013. While institutions must include calendar year 2013 statistics for domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in their ASRs to be issued to students, employees, and prospective students and employees later this year, they will not report these new crimes to the Department in the Web-based data collection this year. Instead, institutions will report the statistics for both calendar years 2013 and 2014 to the Department during the data collection period in Fall 2015. Reporting of statistics has been delayed for incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking for one year because, once the final regulations are in place, the Department must follow certain procedures to revise the Web-based data collection instrument.
The Clery Act requires institutions to disclose and report three calendar years’ worth of statistics. USDE will phase in the new statistical requirements by collecting data until three years are represented, as shown in the chart below.
Although outside parties may be offering training to institutions on how to comply with the new requirements under the Clery Act, none of this training has been reviewed or endorsed by the USDE and the Department is not bound by any statements made by these parties. Institutions are also reminded that the proposed regulations included in the NPRM may be changed after public comments have been reviewed. Therefore, training which relies on the proposed regulations may not fully capture what is required for compliance once the final regulations are effective.
Schools are urged to contact the Help Desk by telephone at 800-435-5985 or by e-mail at email@example.com for guidance if you have questions. The Help Desk will provide guidance on the VAWA changes based on the statutory language.
For complete details read this entire Dear Colleague Letter at: http://www.ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/GEN1413.html
For more information on the Clery Act showing the amendments made by VAWA follow this link:
The Clery Act with the VAWA Amendments