Connecticut Title IX Attorneys: Protecting the Rights of Sexual Assault Survivors
Recent and significant changes to Title IX guidance have caused substantial uncertainty. People who were sexually assaulted at school may feel worried about whether to come forward. At Duffy Law, our team of experienced Title IX lawyers understand how hard it can be for survivors to come forward, and we provide aggressive and compassionate legal advice and representation. We protect survivors’ rights throughout the investigation process and will bring legal action against schools that do not comply with Title IX requirements.
If you were the victim of sexual assault and are considering reporting it to your academic institution, you need legal representation. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call Duffy Law today at (203) 946-2000 or send us an email through our online contact form.
Title IX: What You Need to Know
Title IX is a federal law that protects people from sexual discrimination in academic programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance—which makes it applicable to the vast majority of schools, including public high school, colleges, and universities. Among other things, Title IX requires schools to respond to and remedy any instances of sexual assault on campus. Recently, the Department of Education issued guidance that significantly changed how it will enforce Title IX, creating uncertainty for administrators and students alike. Changes to the law include:
- Schools may not use fixed rules or operating assumptions that favor one party over another during sexual assault investigations.
- Any opportunities or rights that a school makes available to one party during an investigation must be made available to the other party on equal terms.
- Schools do not have fixed time frames in which to complete Title IX investigations.
- For the burden of proof in sexual assault cases, schools may now choose between using a preponderance of the evidence or clear and convincing evidence.
Don’t Be Afraid to Stand Up for Your Rights
Many critics and observers believe that these significant changes to Title IX elevate the rights of the accused at the expense of victims. While the effect of these changes remains to be seen, never be afraid of reporting sexual assault to your school or the authorities. Victims have legal rights that an experienced attorney can protect.
If you report a sexual assault, your school is required to take immediate steps to ensure your safety—even while the investigation is pending. To this end, your school may impose certain interim measures, including:
- Counseling services and assistance
- Medical care
- Security escorts and increased patrols
- Changes in class schedule
- Limiting the accused’s access to certain facilities
- Changes to housing
- Interim suspension
- Academic assistance
- Changes to employment arrangements
- Extension of time or course-related changes
In response to allegations of sexual assault, schools commonly issue No Contact Orders, which prohibit certain individuals from contacting one another, either directly, electronically, or through third parties. A school can modify these orders as it gathers more information about the incident or as requested by any party to the matter.
When Should You Call a Lawyer After a Sexual Assault on Campus?
Sexual assault is an extraordinarily traumatic experience and something no one should have to go through. The emotional and psychological trauma that survivors experience can make it difficult for them to think clearly and make decisions that are in their best interests. Of course, as a survivor, your first priority should be your mental, physical, and emotional health, and you should seek appropriate treatment from trained professionals. Once you can do so, do everything you can to protect your legal rights—which starts by retaining an attorney that practices Title IX law. Attorney can help you after a sexual assault by:
- Advising you about whether and how to report the assault to your school and law enforcement authorities
- Connecting you with survivor advocacy resources
- Representing you and speaking on your behalf during any investigation
- In some cases, representing you in any disciplinary hearing that your school conducts
- Ensuring that your school complies with Title IX requirements and implements interim measures that keep you safe and allow you to continue your studies
In some cases, a school can violate your rights under Title IX by mishandling allegations of sexual assault. When this occurs, your attorney may initiate legal action against your school by filing a complaint with the Office For Civil Rights in your state. You must file these complaints within 180 days of an alleged incident, so seek legal counsel as soon as possible. These complaints must comply with certain technical requirements, so anyone considering filing a complaint should do so with the assistance of a lawyer. If OCR investigates the case and the investigation indicates a Title IX violation, it will refer the case to the Department of Justice or initiate proceedings to terminate federal funding.
Call Duffy Law Today to Speak with a Connecticut Title IX Lawyer
Reporting sexual assault and participating in an investigation can be extremely difficult, especially when the law is changing in a way that makes it seem harder for survivors to obtain justice. At Duffy Law, our Connecticut Title IX attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of people who were sexually assaulted and ensuring that academic institutions comply with the relevant laws. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at (203) 946-2000 or send us an email through our online contact form.