Scholarly and Scientific Research Relevant to Required Reporting

Jennifer J. Freyd, PhD

Professor Emerit of Psychology, University of Oregon

Faculty Affiliate of the Women's Leadership Innovation Lab at Stanford University

Founder and President, Center for Institutional Courage


Notes: There may be much missing information. I'm compiling information as it is sent to me. I have not verified all the information here. Please let me know of errors or missing research. JJF

On the psychology of required reporting -- theory and overview

Holland, K. J., Cortina, L. M., & Freyd, J. J. (2018). Compelled Disclosure of College Sexual Assault. American Psychologist. 73(3), 256-268.

Press Release

Accepted version full text

Sexual assault is a widespread problem on college campuses. In response, many institutions are developing policies mandating that certain employees report any student disclosure of sexual assault to university officials (and, in some cases, to police), with or without the survivor’s consent. These policies, conceptualized here as compelled disclosure, have been prompted and shaped by federal law and guidance, including Title IX and The Clery Act. Proponents of compelled disclosure assert that it will increase reports—enabling universities to investigate and remedy more cases of sexual assault—and will benefit sexual assault survivors, university employees, and the institution. However, many questions remain unanswered. How broad (or narrowly tailored) are contemporary compelled disclosure mandates in higher education? Do any empirical data support assumptions about the benefits of these policies? Are there alternative approaches that should be considered, to provide rapid and appropriate responses to sexual violence while minimizing harm to students? The current article begins with an overview of federal law and guidance around compelled disclosure. Next, a content analysis of a stratified random sample of 150 university policies provides evidence that the great majority require most, if not all, employees to report student sexual assault disclosures. A review of the literature then suggests that these policies have been implemented despite limited evidence to support assumptions regarding their benefits and effectiveness. In fact, some findings suggest negative consequences for survivors, employees, and institutions. The article concludes with a call for survivor-centered reforms in institutional policies and practices surrounding sexual assault.

February/March 2019 Update: The American Psychologist has published in the February/March 2019 issue a comment and our response to our 2018 article "Compelled disclosure of college sexual assault."

Comment: Newins, A. R. (2019). Ethical considerations of compelled disclosure of sexual assault among college students: Comment on Holland, Cortina, and Freyd (2018). American Psychologist, 74(2), 248-249.

Our Response: Holland, K. J., Cortina, L. M., & Freyd, J. J. (2019). Advocating alternatives to mandatory reporting of college sexual assault: Reply to Newins (2018). American Psychologist, 74(2), 250-251.


On the perceptions of victims' advocates

On the role of violations of control in sexual assault and the need to reestablish a sense of control:

On the harm experienced by survivors in having their autonomy violated

On the probability survivor engages with the system once autonomy is violated

On harm caused by institutional betrayal

On opinions of survivors regarding required reporting

Legal analyses regarding whether schools are obligated to designate everyone as a required reporter

Office of Civil Rights -- Department of Education

Guidance from EEOC -- Regarding Title VII and Graduate students who are also employees:

From the EEOC guidance at

An individual qualifies as an employee’s “supervisor” if:

This EEOC guidance then goes into detail about what both of these components mean.


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