Noting that 1 in 5 women is a victim of sexual assault while in college and that the perpetrator is most often someone she knows, a White House task force has asked a Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (SON) expert to help lead research aimed at helping to stop the violence.

Jacquelyn Campbell, PhD, RN, FAAN, a SON faculty member and national expert on prevention of violence against women and children, was invited to the White House on Tuesday, April 29, for the presentation of “Not Alone: The First Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault.”

The task force also announced that Johns Hopkins is one of three universities “committed to developing research projects that will better inform their response to the problem and contribute to the national body of work on campus sexual assault.” The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work and the University of New Hampshire Prevention Innovations Center will join Campbell and the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing to “lead by example” in the research effort, the White House task force said.

Campbell, who recently received the National Family Justice Center Lifetime Achievement Award for her efforts at stopping violence against women and children, will specifically study sexual assault among students who are intimate partners, including those in LGBTQ relationships.

Campbell said most studies of campus sexual assault have concentrated on acquaintance and stranger rape among undergraduates on residential campuses. Yet there is substantial evidence that at least one-third of sexual assaults among university-aged women (18-28) are committed by a partner or ex-partner; that few sexual assaults involving university students actually occur “on campus;” and that long-term physical and mental health consequences are substantial. “We are proposing a study to address those gaps and to help provide a sound evidentiary basis for prevention and response programs and policies that could be effective across a wide range of university settings,” she said.

The purpose of the SON study is to assess:

  • Risk factors for and prevalence of partner and other relationship sexual assault and sexual harassment in a university setting;
  • Mental, physical, and behavioral consequences;
  • The use of university and community health, student services, and justice system resources and perception of usefulness of those resources.

The study will involve data from surveys and interviews, analyzed to assess both risks and strategies for prevention. The results will be shared nationally with the hope that they can inform best practices on addressing sexual violence at colleges and universities across the country.

Meanwhile, Campbell’s colleague Nancy Glass, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, has received a National Institutes of Health Research Project Grant (RO1) to launch a study titled “Effectiveness of a Safety Intervention for Dating Violence” involving the smartphone app MyPlan, which alerts women to potential dangers in a relationship. The app is based on Campbell’s Danger Assessment tool.

On Tuesday, the White House task force announced the creation of a—for survivors as well as “students, schools, and anyone interested in finding resources on how to respond to and prevent sexual assault on college and university campuses and in our schools.”

Learn more about the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.