ATIXA Research Award Grant Recipient Four-Part Blog Series: Part IV

Part IV of IV: Faculty and Staff Experiences and Perceptions of Mandated Reporting (MR)– Implications and Future Directions

By: Christina Mancini, Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University, and Sarah Koon-Magnin, Ph.D., University of South Alabama

The research presented in the last installment focused on two areas: 1) perceptions concerning which conditions should trigger compelled disclosure, and 2) the experiences of university employees who have made a disclosure on behalf of someone else. One finding, aligning with prior qualitative research (e.g., Holland, Cipriano et al., 2020) was that respondents endorsed the most approval for a victim-centered/student-directed approach. This feedback may be especially useful to administrators since the impetus of mandatory reporting was the realization that while students may not report their victimization to law enforcement, they are likely to disclose to trusted professor or advisors.

Accordingly, such individuals are in a unique position to reflect on the types of reporting procedures that would be most beneficial to victims and survivors. As indicated by both the quantitative and qualitative data, there was less support for universal models of MR, indicating that university employees value models that allow for flexibility and victim autonomy. In short, while faculty and staff are likely going to comply with MR, there is variation in the level of “buy in” among employees and polar extremes in the experience of staff who report having to disclose.

Under that backdrop, debriefing practices and clearer guidance concerning the reporting process are important for post-secondary institutions to consider. At the same time, given concerns about victim agency, there is a need for consideration of nuanced or “student-directed” reporting procedures that honors the wishes of survivors.

References

Holland, K. J., Cipriano, A. E., & Huit, T. Z. (2020b). “The fear is palpable”: Service providers’ perceptions of mandatory reporting policies for sexual assault in higher education. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 20(1), 66-89. https://doi.org/10.1111/asap.12193

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