Examining support for university-to-police reporting policies for sexual assault: The role of survivors’ consent
Holland, Kathryn J.
Cipriano, Allison E.
Diede, Alex S.
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Holland, K. J., Cipriano, A. E., Goodman-Williams, R., & Diede, A. S. (2021). Examining support for university-to-police reporting policies for sexual assault: The role of survivors’ consent. American Journal of Community Psychology, doi:10.1002/ajcp.12533
In several states, bills have been introduced that require universities to report sexual assaults to law enforcement. Opponents argue that such policies can compel survivors to disclose against their will, stripping survivors of autonomy and harming campus communities. We used a mixed method approach to examine people’s support for reporting policies that do and do not consider survivor consent: compelled police disclosure (requires a report regardless of victim consent) and consented police disclosure (requires a report if the victim consents). We examined individual characteristics and attitudes associated with support for these approaches (i.e., had experienced sexual assault, trust in police). Participants (1,045 adults in the United States) were randomly assigned to read one of three policy statements, and we collected quantitative and qualitative survey data. Participants were less supportive of compelled police disclosure than consented police disclosure. People who supported compelled disclosure frequently focused on the crime and potential social benefits, were more likely to be non-victims, and held greater trust in the police. People who supported consented disclosure focused on the victim’s needs, were more likely to be survivors, and held less trust in the police. Survivor consent should be considered in the discussion of university-to-police reporting policies for sexual assault.
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