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Whether or not a victim can pursue damages as a result of a campus sexual assault really depends on how you define damages. Certainly, within the criminal system as we all know, you know the sanction is prison or some other probation, sometimes there’s an opportunity to get restitution as part of that criminal process. Restitution is usually limited to out of pocket expenses, not things like pain and suffering and those kind of losses. As far as the campus adjudicatory process, you know I don’t really think about it in terms of damages because like I said, the goal to Title IX is to provide equal opportunity and equal access to the educational environment so that’s really what Title IX is aimed to achieve. So when we’re talking about damages or remedies as part of a campus Title IX proceeding what we’re really look at is the college or university taking steps to help the student achieve that equal access. Sometimes that’s therapy, sometimes that’s counseling, sometimes that’s a stay away order or other limitation, but it’s not really thought of in the traditional concept of damages.
Of course, in a civil case all kinds of remedies become possible. And although all of these areas fall under the issue of sexual harassment and sexual assault, they’re all slightly different. But again, in Title IX equality of access is the goal and the college and university should be taking whatever steps they can to help the students cope with what they’ve experienced this harassment, the sexual assault and try to help them get back to where they can have equal access to their education.
New York sex abuse victim attorney, James Marsh, explains what sorts of compensation victims of campus sexual assault can claim.