Faculty & Staff Supporting Students

A faculty or staff member may be the first person to recognize when a student is in distress and to reach out to that student. All campus communities have a responsibility to address and respond to relationship abuse. As a faculty or staff member of CSUSM, you should be able to recognize signs of abuse and provide resources to victims. If you suspect one of your students is being abused, reach out to provide support.

The Facts

  • Women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence. i
  • Nearly one-third of college students report physically assaulting a dating partner in the previous 12 months.ii
  • As many as one quarter of female students experience sexual assault over the course of their college career.iii
  • Approximately 90% of victims of sexual assault on college campuses know their attacker.iv

Consequences of Relationship Abuse on College Students

  • Relationship Abuse can cause serious injury and all too often can lead to homicide, if left unchecked.
  • In their attempts to cope with abuse, students may develop substance abuse problems, eating disorders, or depression sometimes leading to suicide. They also may experience sleep disturbances and stress-related physical illnesses.
  • Survivors are often socially isolated, fearful, and alienated from their campus community.
  • Many survivors suffer academic consequences. It is not uncommon for abusers to prevent their partners from attending classes, studying for exams, and doing assignments. As a result of abuse, many students receive lower grades, are put on academic probation, or are dismissed from the university.
  • A lack of safety robs survivors of their education and the ability to pursue their future professional and personal goals.

Why Get Involved?

As a staff or faculty member, it is your responsibility to create a safe learning environment for all students. Being in an environment where interpersonal violence is not appropriately addressed makes many students feel vulnerable and less safe in their campus community. Not addressing abuse means failing in your responsibility to individual survivors as well as in your responsibility to provide an environment conducive to the pursuit of academic goals for all students.

Failure to address abuse may mean institutional liability in certain individual cases and in all cases sends the dangerous message that violence is tolerated. Tolerating violence opens the door to more violence as abusers and others see that there are few real sanctions for their behavior.

Students who are directly or indirectly affected by abuse do not have the opportunity to function at their full potential. The university suffers from the loss of their contributions. Additionally, academic departments and institutions lose some of their most academically talented students whose only choice for safety is to leave.

Next: How to Help Students

i Bureau of Justice Statistics. “Violence by Intimates: Analysis of Data on Crimes by Current or Former Spouses, Boyfriends and Girlfriends.” Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Justice; 1998. Publication No. NCJ 167237
ii Straus, Murray A. “Prevalence of Violence Against Dating Partners by Male and Female University Students Worldwide.” Violence Against Women 2004 10: 790-811.
iii Bonnie S. Fisher, et al., “Sexual Victimization of College Women.” Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Justice; 2000. Publication No. NCJ 182369
iv Ibid.
v Best, M & Nelson, D. "Organizing College Campuses Against Dating Abuse."
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence 1999.