The average time a Title IX investigation takes the Department of Education has increased to over four years according to new data.
Three U.S. Senators released data on Title IX sexual violence complaints that shows the Department of Education struggling to keep up with a growing number of cases.
U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) released the data on May 5 and urged lawmakers to increase funding for the Department of Education, according to boxer.senate.gov.
The data shows that from the 2009 fiscal year to the 2014 fiscal year, sexual violence complaints at colleges increased by more than 1,000%. In that time, the length of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) investigations has gone from an average of 379 days to 1,469 days.
Senator Gillibrand says the department lacks resources to promptly investigate complaints while Senator Kaine says it’s “critical that universities get timely feedback.”
More than 100 schools are on the list of institutions under investigation by OCR, which is the enforcement branch of the U.S. Department of Education. The length of time it takes for OCR to investigate claims puts schools in legal limbo, stigmatizing the campuses under investigation and leaving them unable to clear their names or implement recommended improvements, reports Bloomberg.
Students have accused schools of discouraging them from reporting attacks, wrongly dismissing cases and retaliating against them in their complaints.