Necessary but not sufficient: Sexual assault information on college and university websites.

Key Point: This research analyzed the availability, content, and location of sexual assault information presented on University and college websites.

Summary: For this study, a random sample of 102 (accredited and not for profit) colleges and University websites that grant Bachelor’s degrees were analyzed for web content regarding sexual violence.  The websites were coded for information and location of sexual violence information.  88 percent (n=90) of the school’s websites included information regarding sexual violence, however the information mostly focused on the school’s policies regarding sexual violence.  67 percent (n=61) of those schools also had information available through their .edu domain that included definitions of sexual assault.  However, only 30 percent (n=27) of those schools also included definitions of consent.  The research findings suggested that colleges and Universities have presented information that is policy related or crisis focused versus prevention focused. The authors recommended that colleges and Universities should provide more comprehensive sexual violence information on their websites given the trend of individual’s seeking health-related information on the internet.

Application/Evaluation: The study did not evaluate the effectiveness of a health program or strategy.

Limitations: The study sample represented five percent of all of the non-profit, Bachelor’s degree granting colleges and Universities in the US. Replication with a larger sample would help to increase validity of the study findings.

Author: 
Lund, E. M., & Thomas, K. B
Start Page: 
530
End Page: 
538
Journal/Periodical Name: 
Psychology of Women Quarterly
Volume: 
39
Issue: 
4
Publication Date: 
2015