Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

Information for Professionals

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Campus Guide For College Students

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Understanding Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking


Intimate partner violence (or dating/domestic violence), sexual assault, and stalking are some of the most prevalent crimes on college campuses. While these types of violence do not always rise to the level of a punishable offense by law, all compromise the safety of everyone on or near campus.

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a pattern of behaviors used to gain power and control over a current or previous intimate partner. Behaviors can include physical, sexual, emotional, financial, and/or verbal abuse. The abuse can happen over time and may continue to get more violent or dangerous. On college campuses, IPV commonly begins with possessive behaviors like jealousy and isolation from friends and family.

Sexual assault involves any kind of sexual contact that is unwanted and/or nonconsensual. Most sexual assaults happen between people who know each other. It is common for someone who has been abused by their partner in other ways to also have been sexually assaulted by them. Sexual assault can involve force, but may also involve being coerced into sexual activity. In many cases, especially on college campuses, the use of drugs and alcohol are often a factor in sexual assault, which can further complicate reporting and response.

Stalking is the unwanted pursuit of one person by another. Stalking is a crime in New York State and can be very dangerous. While some stalking happens between people who don’t know each other, it frequently occurs in current or former intimate partner relationships. Stalking on college campuses can be especially difficult to monitor and prohibit due to victim and abusers living in the same residence halls.

What Services and Protections are Available for Victims on College Campuses?

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Students have the option to use campus resources in cases of IPV, sexual assault, and stalking.

As with any victim, students can also turn to their community resources to seek services, even if they are already using campus resources.

For more information go to the OPDV website.

Photo of young woman and young man smilingIn New York State, there are laws that require colleges and universities to provide information to students about IPV, stalking, and sexual assault. The basic requirements of the laws are summarized below. For more information, please visit the OPDV website.

Colleges are required to:

All victims of violent crime who are victimized in New York State may apply for victim compensation through the Office of Victim Services. For more information, ask your local victim service provider or visit the Office of Victim Services website.

How Serious is the Problem?

IPV, sexual assault, and stalking are widespread on college campuses. These forms of violence can occur one at a time or simultaneously. Each occurrence should be reported separately due to specific laws and system responses.

Two young women holding handsCollege students face unique obstacles when it comes to IPV, sexual assault, and stalking.

*Citations are available at Respect Love, Love Respect.

What to do if you’re a victim of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, or stalking:

NYS Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline


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National Relay Service for Deaf or Hard of Hearing: 711

NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

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NYS Office of Victim Services

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State of New York

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