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Report Examines Sexual Harassment, Violence Reporting for Student-Athletes

Student-athletes may find it more difficult to report sexual harassment and violence, according to a report released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Sexual Harassment and Violence: Efforts to Help College Athletes” provides GAO’s findings from reviewing issues related to sexual harassment and violence against college athletes.

The report examines barriers for athletes in reporting sexual harassment and violence to their colleges, how selected colleges address sexual harassment and violence in athletic programs, and the extent the U.S. Department of Education monitors colleges' compliance with related Title IX regulations (pertaining to Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, which prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities receiving federal funding).

GAO interviewed education officials; representatives from five research, advocacy, sports, and other organizations; officials from 10 colleges in four states; and 13 athletes from the selected colleges.

Those colleges focused on training athletes and others on how to recognize and report sexual harassment and violence. They reported their focus on providing support to those affected by sexual harassment and violence, such as by offering counseling and arranging for students to re-do or make up coursework. That is in addition to following regulatory requirements for investigating and resolving allegations of sexual harassment.

The education department recently published revised regulations that, effective Aug. 1, define sex-based harassment and specify requirements for associated grievance procedures and training.

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