Is a University Responsible for a Sexual Abuse Case?

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

When students are sexually abused at college, they may feel like their university failed them. And they’re right.  If you’re sexually abused while at school, your university can be liable. For survivors wanting justice, it’s important to understand how your university may be held responsible for a sexual abuse case.

If you were sexually abused while on campus, your university can be found legally responsible. Institutions like colleges can be legally liable for sexual assault if they fail to protect students. Under Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, organizations that receive any form of federal funding are barred from allowing sex-based discrimination. This includes sexual abuse. Not only can a college be responsible for violating your Title IX rights, but it may also be held accountable for the actions of its employees. When that happens, it can absolutely be responsible for a sexual abuse case.

The experienced, compassionate attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin can help survivors get the justice they deserve. If you or a loved one has experienced sexual abuse while at school and wants to sue, call the Title IX attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today at (814) 826-3586.

Why Is a University Responsible for a Sexual Abuse Case?

Because all universities in the U.S. receive some form of federal money from scholarships, grants, or funding, they are subject to Title IX regulations. Among the prohibited acts within Title IX is sex-based discrimination. Failing to prevent sexual abuse, providing an environment that allows it, and denying student survivors help following abuse are all violations of Title IX.

When universities don’t protect their students from sexual abuse – whether the abuser is a student or a staff member – it can be the university’s fault. That’s because, under Title IX, institutions like colleges are responsible for preventing sex-based discrimination of any kind. So, just the fact that abuse happened on the grounds of your university can make your school liable. If a school fails to provide adequate preventative measures and a student is sexually abused on campus, the school can be held responsible.

Some universities may argue that they were unaware of the abuse and had no way of preventing it. However, that’s why safety measures are important. If your university doesn’t comply with the safety measures outlined in its student handbook or has no measures in place at all, then that’s like to be considered negligence.

An obvious violation of Title IX is when a survivor approaches their university only to be discriminated against further. Survivors may be unsure of reporting to their college out of fear of retaliation. However, if any administrator or staff member mocks you or tries to silence you following sexual abuse, they’ve further violated your Title IX rights. This not only makes your university responsible for sexual abuse but could give your attorney cause to bring more claims against the institution.

How Colleges Should Prevent Sexual Abuse

To stop sexual abuse, universities should have preventative measures in place. Examples of these preventive measures include

  • Hiring security guards
  • Requiring thorough background checks of staff
  • Installing police call boxes and security cameras on campus

Universities can also help prevent sexual abuse by ensuring that students feel safe enough to approach administration following abuse and by educating students on how to recognize abuse. There are so many things universities can do to try and stop sexual abuse from happening.

How to Sue a University for Sexual Abuse

You might be met with hostility or disinterest after reporting abuse to your university. Your university may decide not to take action against an offender or to not thoroughly investigate the situation. In that case, you may decide to take matters into your own hands. The first step is to find an attorney. Hiring an experienced lawyer is so important. The Title IX attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin can help you understand your options when filing a lawsuit against your university. Our team can also help you file a civil suit against the individual offender.

Next, you and your attorney may decide the best route to take is to file a claim with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). This has to be done within 180 days of the last act of discrimination. So, if you’ve approached your university and the administration has attempted to silence you, the deadline to file with the OCR would be 180 days from that date.

While it may be difficult, keeping a record of your interactions with university officials following your reporting of sexual abuse can help your future case. It can benefit your claim if you can show that your college denied you help or failed to punish or investigate the offender.

The next step would be to file a civil Title IX lawsuit against your university. Doing that can be intimidating. That’s why having an experienced attorney by your side can help you navigate a lawsuit.

You may still be enrolled in your university when you file your suit. In that case, you may be worried that your school will try to retaliate against you further for taking legal action. If they do in any way, that would be an act of discrimination in violation of your Title IX rights. It would only hurt the university’s defense and could allow you to file additional claims.

Call Our Title IX Attorneys to Hold Your University Responsible in a Sexual Abuse Case

When your university has failed you and allowed you to be abused, suing it in a sexual abuse case is possible. Call the Title IX victim attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin for a free consultation today at (814) 826-3586.


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