Home Sexual Violence Response on Campus Sexual Violence Data Collection General Surveys vs. Sexual Violence-Specific Surveys

General Surveys vs. Sexual Violence-Specific Surveys

A number of surveys currently exist to measure general campus climate, some of which include sections on sexual violence as a way to measure campus sexual assault statistics, including the National College Health Assessment. Meanwhile, there also exist several sexual violence-specific surveys for post-secondary institutions, such as the EAB Sexual Violence Campus Climate Survey and the Student Voices on Sexual Violence Climate Survey.

Research has shown that general campus climate surveys may be underestimating sexual violence rates among the general student body, as well as specific violence rates and experiences of vulnerable populations. Results of one study found that at best, general climate surveys underrepresent non-consensual sexual contact by a few percentage points, and at worst, general surveys reveal prevalence estimates that are more than 1.5 times lower than prevalence estimates found through sexual violence specific surveys.

This research suggests that general campus climate surveys may not be sufficient to accurately measure sexual violence among the student population as well as within equity-deserving groups. The authors recommend that post-secondary institutions employ sexual violence-specific tools that have been empirically proven and checked for inclusivity.

Guide: PDF Version