Sexual Violence, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence and Stalking Education, Prevention and Response at Institutions of Higher Education and Private Licensed Schools
Background and Introduction
Article XX-G of the Public School Code requires all institutions of higher education (institutions) and private licensed schools (schools) to establish and maintain a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with at least one local rape crisis center and one local domestic violence program.
Through these agreements, by the 2023-24 school year schools and institutions to partner with crisis centers and domestic violence programs to:
- Develop the institution's and school's sexual misconduct policies, programming, and training involving students and employees;
- Provide an off-campus option for students and employees to receive free and confidential services to address sexual harassment and violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking, such as,
- Support while looking at campus and community reporting options
- Access to legal help, sexual violence and intimidation protection orders, compensation for victims, forensic rape exams (rape kits), and other services;
- Ensure students and employees are notified of free and confidential support, counseling services, advocacy services, and how to get these services on and off campus;
- Cooperate and clarify what schools/institutions and rape/domestic violence crisis centers are expected to do when a report of sexual violence, domestic/dating violence, or stalking is made. Schools and institutions are expected to train crisis centers on their procedures and policies when a report is made, investigated, and adjudicated, and crisis centers are expected to train schools and institutions on their policies and procedures when they receive a report; and
- Develop and create an education program.
Institutions or schools that do not have full-time students are still required to have MOUs and programming in place for employees, regardless of student status.
Institutions and schools are required to have at least one MOU in place by December 31, 2022.
Institutions and schools must also establish and implement an educational program in consultation with at least one local rape crisis center and one domestic violence program by July 1, 2023.
Resources and guidance posted on this website should be used to meet these requirements and deadlines.
Rape Crisis Center and Domestic Violence Program Partners
A rape crisis center is a nonprofit organization within Pennsylvania's network of rape crisis centers that partners, is funded by, and abides by the standards of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR). The primary purpose of a rape crisis center is to provide services to sexual violence victims and their significant others and to prevent sexual violence in the community. Rape crisis center services include but are not limited to the following: crisis intervention and hotline support, safety planning, counseling, systems advocacy, therapy, medical and legal accompaniment, prevention education and community education, information and referral, and victim assistance.
A domestic violence program is a nonprofit organization or program whose primary purpose is to provide services to domestic violence victims which include, but are not limited to, crisis hotline; safe homes or shelters; community education; counseling systems intervention and interface; transportation, information and referral; and victim assistance.
Schools and institutions should begin the process of entering an MOU with these organizations by locating the closest rape crisis center and domestic violence program.
To locate a rape crisis center, refer to the
PCAR Location Finder.
To locate a domestic crisis center, refer to the
PCADV Program Finder.
The Memorandum of Understanding
Institutions and schools are required to have at least one MOU by December 31, 2022. Schools and institutions do not need a new MOU if one is already in place that meets the established criteria. Existing MOUs can be updated to meet the requirements the next time it is renewed between institutions of higher education and partner providers. Only one MOU is required if the partner provides the services of both a rape crisis center and a domestic violence program.
- A description of partner agencies, including the rape crisis center, domestic violence crisis center, and school/institution
- History of previous collaboration, if applicable
- A fee structure (note that institutions and schools can apply for a PA It's On Us grant to offset fees paid to crisis centers)
- The role of the rape crisis center or domestic violence program
- The role of the school or institution
- Terms of agreement, including when the MOU will take effect. This must be
before December 31, 2022
Schools and institutions must report to PDE on the implementation of the education program and MOUs through an annual attestation of compliance. If a school or institution exhausts all efforts to find a partner rape crisis center or domestic violence partner but is unable to, they may pursue a Good-Faith Waiver through the annual attestation of compliance submitted to PDE. The Department of Education will only grant this waiver if the school or institution can prove that it acted in good faith but was unable to attain the MOUs.
Education Program Resources
PDE is working with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence to develop additional resources for educational programming for institutions and schools.
Article XX-G requires institutions and schools to offer a sexual violence awareness educational program and at least one mandatory follow-up program during the school year for new students by July 1, 2023.
This program must be developed in collaboration with the rape crisis center and domestic violence program that the institution or school entered the Memorandum of Understanding with.
The education program must include, at minimum, the following:
- A discussion of sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking;
- A discussion of consent, including emphasizing that the victim is not at fault;
- A discussion of how drug and alcohol use can contribute to sexual violence;
- Information relating to risk education and personal protection;
- Information on where and how to get assistance, including the importance of medical treatment and evidence collection after sexual violence occurs, and how to report sexual violence to campus authorities and local law enforcement;
- The possibility of pregnancy and transmission of sexual diseases;
- An introduction of members of the educational community from:
- Campus police or security and local law enforcement.
- Campus health center, women's center and rape crisis center.
- Campus counselling service or any service responsible for psychological counseling and student affairs;
- A promise of discretion and dignity; and
- A promise of confidentiality for victims of sexual assault to the extent allowable by law.
The follow-up program may include lectures, interactive learning programs, institutional activities, videos, and other educational materials related to sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking prevention and awareness. Informational video from It's On Us National Organization
Below are educational resources that schools and institutions may find useful when developing the required programming: