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Revised CAS Standards released for Sexual Violence-Related Programs and Services

CAS recently revised professional standards for Sexual Violence-Related Programs and Services, available in the ninth edition of CAS Professional Standards for Higher Education.

The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) has released revised standards to provide direction for Sexual Violence-Related Programs and Services. CAS, composed of 41 collaborating professional associations representing over 100,000 professionals in higher education, has developed standards and guidelines for 44 functional areas, and rooted them in the scholarship and work conducted within their respective fields. The new standards delineate expectations for educators in the related functional areas and are housed in the ninth edition of the CAS Professional Standards for Higher Education.

Sexual Violence-Related Programs and Services (SV-RPS) standards have been revised to reflect the current trends in higher education. Dr. Stacy Andes, Director of Health Promotion and Villanova University, elaborates on the current landscape, stating that “sexual violence is a threat to the educational process and to the success of our students. It is also one of the highest priorities for institutions of higher education today for which there is little research regarding effective prevention.”

According to Andes, some of the most noteworthy changes to the standards include “changes in language including terms like survivor, complainant, respondent, and sexual violence; balancing a trauma-informed approach yet acknowledging the need for fair and equitable processes for all parties; encompassing the work of both prevention and response in the issue of sexual violence; and incorporated legislative updates that have largely informed the field of sexual violence prevention and response in recent years.”

Dr. Dennis Gregory, Functional Area Expert and Associate Professor at Old Dominion University, believes that “this standard is critical to student affairs divisions as they seek to comply with newly passed laws and regulations, since they and their host institutions face fines and loss of federal fund. On a more personal student level, compliance with this standard will help institutions to have the policies, resources and staff to support and educate students about the issues of sexual violence. This, in turn, creates a safer environment on campuses and allows students to interact and learn with less threat and fear.”

Gregory also notes the most significant revisions to the standard: “This newly revised standard addresses and includes changes which have occurred since the last revision in the focus on Clery, The Violence Against Women Act (Campus SaVE) and Title IX, with particular focus on issues around equality of treatment for the complainant and respondent in sexual violence adjudication, the increase in OCR enforcement of Title IX and addresses the inclusion of stalking, domestic violence and dating violence as reportable crimes. It also takes a broader approach to support campus use of the standard in these cases.”

The revised Sexual Violence-Related Programs and Services. standards can be found in the ninth edition of the CAS Professional Standards for Higher Education and the revised Self-Assessment Guides. Pre-order is now available and more information can be found at www.cas.edu.

Please contact CAS executive director Marybeth Drechsler Sharp (executive_director@cas.edu or 202.862.1400) with questions and media inquiries.  

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