Online Program

A Sexual Assault Campus Climate Survey: Challenges in Development and Implementation

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 9:30 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.

Lisa Lieberman, PhD, CHES, Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
Eva Goldfarb, PhD, MA, Department of Public Health, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
Amanda S. Birnbaum, PhD, MPH, Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
Stephanie Silvera, PhD, CPH, Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
Kim O'Halloran, PhD, College of Education and Human Services, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
Megan Kearney, BA, College of Education and Human Services, Dean's Office, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
In January 2014, the White House established a Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, with a mandate to provide colleges/universities with tools to increase understanding of the true depth of the sexual assault problem on campuses and increase opportunity for victims to report crimes.  The White House is exploring legislative/administrative options to require colleges to conduct evidence-based surveys beginning in 2016.  With a commitment and responsiveness to national and local sexual assault prevention movements, one major Northeastern public university created a campus-wide survey to be pilot-tested in spring 2015.  This project represents a unique collaboration of senior level administrators, residence life staff, public health faculty, an IRB member, and students.  The university’s national reputation of expansive resources for LGBTQ students, and strong mission focused on social justice, provided the context for a survey addressing a range of issues beyond prevalence of sexual assault.  Researching high-risk topics on a wide scale presented unique design and implementation challenges: sampling across campus, response rates, and appropriate incentives; multi-phase data collection; choosing appropriate language (e.g. girls, females, women); defining assault, rape, consent, harassment; balancing invasiveness and ability to accurately measure experiences and perspectives;  and differentiating beliefs about campus responsiveness to assault vs. prevention. Presentation will focus on one campus’s success in developing an instrument assessing a range of issues in reaching the White House’s goal of reducing sexual assault and harassment on college campuses.  Pilot test data, to be collected Spring 2015, will be presented in the context of these design issues.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the challenges of addressing topics of sexual assault and harassment in surveys Describe the importance of choice of language in describing potential victims of sexual assault and harassment Differentiate between campus responsiveness to assault and campus prevention efforts

Keyword(s): Sexual Assault, Survey

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the research and have served as the Principal Investigator for this project
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.