Intimate Partner Violence & Title IX

Felice and Cristine standing in suits

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and Title IX

  • Case Results
  • Testimonials
  • List of Schools

Case Results

Here are some representative results we’ve achieved for our clients.

Female complainant’s rights, health, and safety protected throughout lengthy proceedings

Our client was sexually assaulted by a male student acquaintance. We became involved to support our client in getting proper medical treatment, preserving and collecting evidence and witness testimony, and securing therapeutic support. We helped her understand and navigate the many complex options available to her, including a criminal complaint, an informal complaint process, a formal complaint process, or doing nothing. We guided her through the informal process and then the formal process, including interviews with various school and law enforcement officials, and worked closely with the school to put in place appropriate accommodations ensuring that all interviews and hearings did not retraumatize her. The male student was found responsible and was expelled.

Large private university

Witness to sexual violence protected from intimidation

We represented a female witness to a dating violence case on campus who was being pressured to speak with the police and the school investigators about a violent matter she had witnessed on her dorm floor. We immediately communicated on her behalf to the local police, school administrators, and the Title IX investigators to protect her right to choose to not testify and ensure her safety on campus. She was very relieved not to be pressured by the school, the title IX office or the police to attend the hearing and testify about fellow students.

Small private college

Investigation of sexual assault complaint concludes with no charges filed

Our client contacted us immediately upon receiving notice by his school that a claim of sexual assault was made against him by a female student. We assisted him in preparing his detailed answer to the complaint, and then prepared him and accompanied him to his interview with the campus safety police officers. We worked with the school Title IX administrators and helped our client find evidence to show inconsistencies with the complaint. The complainant withdrew her complaint when presented with these inconsistencies and then recanted. The investigation ended and our client was not charged with anything.

Midsized private college

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Client Testimonials

I was introduced to Attorney Duffy by my criminal defense attorney because I was fighting both a criminal charge and a conduct code violations charge. Felice's office responded right away and she and I met by Zoom video. She and her team were respectful, professional and super knowledgeable. They made everything clear and easily understandable. They knew exactly what questions to ask the school officials to get them to focus on the facts that supported my case. I was incredibly well prepared. I knew what I was going to say before I went in to my interviews and how to react to the many questions that would have tripped me up. I got probation, which was definitely the best possible outcome and I couldn’t have gotten that without Attorney Duffy’s help.

College Junior

“When your kid is accused of a serious conduct code violation at his college, you quickly learn that there’s a whole different set of rules in place than in the real world. There are no legal standards, no assurances of a “fair trial.” You're presumed guilty and you have to backtrack and prove why you’re NOT guilty. We pretty quickly realized that we needed strong legal representation and guidance. Our son was completely falsely accused and we were ready to dig in to clear his name.

Felice's truly unique background and deep experience with navigating the school’s process was amazing. She made it clear that our son was the client, not us (his parents). She worked with him extensively and earned his total trust. He felt empowered that he had the right person in his corner to defend him. Felice gave our whole family a sense a calm and confidence.

Thanks to incredibly hard work by Felice and her team, our son was found “not responsible” (meaning innocent of any wrongdoing). The outcome was everything we could have hoped for.

I have already recommended Felice to a friend who’s son was caught up in a serious, very complicated conduct code charge, and I will continue to recommend her to any student or parent without reservation.”

Parent of a private college senior

“I selected the firm after doing extensive research trying to locate an attorney that specializes in sexual assault cases on university campuses. Late one night I emailed her for a consult just to see what she had to say. By 6:30am the next morning she had already emailed me back leaving her information for me to call her. I was impressed by her promptness and early morning response. Our criminal attorney informed our family that this simply wasn’t his specialty and strongly recommended we hire someone who really understood how university disciplinary systems work.

In our culture, we are not often trusting and it took a huge step of faith to consider someone we didn’t know (much less one from out of state) to defend our son.

Based on her collegiate athletic background I felt that she would have a better understanding of our case as our son is a D1 athlete. Based on that and her professional accomplishments I felt like she was driven and determined and she clearly had the ability to understand the laws associated with Title IX.

Bottom line is that our son was found 100% not responsible (meaning not guilty) of the extremely serious charges that were brought against him by a female student.

Felice Duffy and her team were professional, focused, responsive and did a great job throughout the entire stressful ordeal. When we think about how badly and unfairly our son might have been treated by the school, we truly count our blessings that we found Ms. Duffy.”

Parent of a College Sophomore, Ohio

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Schools Where We've Handled Cases

Here are just some of the schools where we’ve represented students, faculty, coaches, and staff:

  • Amherst College
  • Arkansas State University
  • Belmont Abbey College
  • Bowling Green State University
  • Charter Oak State College
  • Colgate University
  • College of the Holy Cross
  • Columbia University
  • Connecticut College
  • Creighton Law School
  • Dartmouth College
  • Fairfield University
  • Flagler College
  • Florida State University
  • Furman University
  • Guilford College
  • Howard University
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Indiana University
  • Lesley University
  • Louisiana State University
  • Marist College
  • Marquette University
  • Miami University
  • Mississippi University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Plymouth State University
  • Quinnipiac University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Rice University
  • Sacred Heart University
  • South Carolina State University
  • St. John's University
  • St. Lawrence University
  • Syracuse University
  • Swarthmore College
  • Tallahassee Comm. College
  • Touro University
  • Trinity College
  • Tufts University
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Lynchburg
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Mass. Med. School
  • University of Miami
  • University of Missouri
  • University of Northern Colorado
  • University of Texas
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
  • Utah University School of Medicine
  • Vassar College
  • Virginia Wesleyan University
  • Washington University, St. Louis
  • Wesleyan University
  • Westfield State University
  • Western Washington University
  • Wheaton College
  • William Smith College
  • Yale University

Anyone who attends an educational institution or works for one should know about Title IX and its protections against sex discrimination in education. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in various educational settings and programs. Specifically, this federal law states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” As you may know, Title IX also provides protections against sexual harassment and sexual assault as forms of sex discrimination. Under Title IX, colleges and universities must develop policies for handling Title IX complaints, must have clear procedures for students to file Title IX complaints, and must have a Title IX coordinator.

Many students, faculty, and staff are familiar with Title IX as a result of sexual misconduct policies and hearings at colleges and universities. While sexual misconduct is defined in various ways by educational institutions, it is important to know that intimate partner violence (IPV) can — be and often is– considered to be a form of sex discrimination in violation of Title IX. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that many different issues are involved in Title IX cases pertaining to intimate partner violence, and it is critical to understand how your school defines it.

What is Intimate Partner Violence?

In general, any kind of violence or abuse that occurs between people who are in a dating relationship can affect both male and female students. To be sure, relationship violence, or dating or domestic violence, can be perpetrated by male and female students at a college or university. Likewise, people who are harmed by dating abuse or domestic violence are both male and female.

While many common narratives of sexual misconduct prohibited under Title IX involve parties who are not in intimate or dating relationships with one another, it is important to know that Title IX also provides protections against intimate partner violence, or IPV. Whether you have been subject to intimate partner violence or have been accused of it, it is important to understand how your particular institution defines it in order to prepare for a Title IX case.

Learning More About Intimate Partner Violence on College Campuses

The following information from the Association of Title IX Administrators provides historical facts and data about intimate partner violence and Title IX cases on college campuses:

  • About 43 percent of women report that they have experienced “some violent and abusive dating behaviors including physical, sexual, tech, verbal, or controlling abuse”
  • Approximately 22 percent of college women report that they have experienced “actual physical abuse, sexual abuse, or threats of physical violence”
  • More than 50 percent of college students say that they have difficulty identifying “dating abuse”
  • More than 21 percent of students report that they have experienced “dating violence by a current partner while in college”
  • More than 40 percent of LGBTQ students in college indicate that they have “experienced intimate partner violence in their current relationships”

While each of these statistics provides information about potential sexual misconduct allegations on college or university campuses, the specific language in each data point may not be defined as intimate partner violence by a particular institution (but instead may fall into a different definition or classification).

Varying College and University Definitions of Intimate Partner Violence

From institution to institution, the specific definition of intimate partner violence can vary. Accordingly, it is critical to understand how your specific institution defines it if you plan to file a Title IX complaint related to intimate partner violence or you need to defend against allegations.

For example, Swarthmore College defines intimate partner violence as including “dating violence, domestic violence, and relationship violence,” and explains that it can be characterized as “any act of violence or threatened act of violence against a person who is, or has been involved in, a sexual, dating, domestic, or other intimate relationship with that person.” Swarthmore further clarifies that intimate partner violence can “encompass a broad range of behavior, including, but not limited to, physical violence and sexual violence.” According to Swarthmore’s policy, IPV can take the form of threats, assault, property damages, and violence or threats of violence.

Differently, Trinity College draws distinctions among domestic violence, dating violence, and intimate partner violence. Trinity College specifically defines intimate partner violence as “any physical or sexual harm against an individual by a current or former spouse of, or person in a dating relationship with, such individual that results from any action by such spouse or such person that may be classified as a sexual assault, stalking, or family violence.”

You will want to understand the precise definition of IPV at your college or university as you seek assistance with your case.

Seeking Legal Advice from a National Title IX Attorney

Intimate partner violence is a serious issue on college and university campuses, and anyone who has been the victim of IPV or has been accused of engaging in prohibited behaviors knows how difficult these cases can be. In most college and university settings, allegations of intimate partner violence can result in a Title IX complaint, an investigation conducted by the Title IX coordinator, and a hearing after the investigation has been completed. In general, the complainant and the respondent are each permitted to have an advocate with them, and that advocate can be a national Title IX lawyer with experience handling similar cases. It is extremely important to know how the Title IX process works at your institution, and what policies your college or university has put in place to move through a Title IX allegation, investigation, and hearing.

If you have questions about your rights or need legal assistance, you should get in touch with one of the national Title IX attorneys at Duffy Law, LLC. We are highly experienced lawyers who serve clients across the country in Title IX cases. Contact Duffy Law, LLC for more information about how we can help you with your case.

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