There's An App For That: How Technology is Changing the Landscape of Sexual Misconduct Reporting

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Aug 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

Despite the blinding light that has been shed on serious issues like sexual assault and harassment through #MeToo and other movements, these incidents are still widely underreported. This phenomenon is especially prevalent in higher education, where sexual violence is occurring at astronomical rates nationwide. For many college students, the process of reporting to coordinators and administrators is isolating. Certain reporting mandates (enforced through Title IX guidelines) increase the risk of retraumatization among victims and leave reporters feeling like disclosure is a large professional or personal risk.

But in recent years, tech experts and programmers have taken matters into their own hands by developing applications that are intended to empower victims and other reporters. Through these applications, students can disclose in ways they feel most comfortable and safe. And experts are discovering that as this technology gains popularity, it could completely reshape the narrative of what it means to report sexual misconduct on college campuses.

One of the most popular reporting apps is named Callisto. Through the app, students are given the option to pick between three reporting styles. The first style is to write a saved, time-stamped version of the incident so that all the details are preserved for when students feel comfortable enough to report. Students can also match an incident, meaning that a report will only be made if another victim names the same perpetrator. The final option is to file an actual report. Details of the incident will be immediately sent to campus administrators without waiting for a match.

Those who've used the app so far, say it's not nearly as traumatizing as reporting face-to-face. This is very good news for victims with a crippling fear of reporting trauma on their own, and for those who fear that the public will question the validity of their claims. In light of its success, app developers are now looking to expand the Callisto reporting platform beyond college campuses and into professional environments.

Callisto has been adopted by 13 institutions as a legitimized method of reporting sexual misconduct on campus. It is only accessible to individuals whose colleges or companies purchase the app. Although the company wouldn't disclose the cost for campuses, it's estimated that the cost ranges significantly, from $10,000 to $30,000.

Naturally, many people have questioned if the app could potentially undercut due process rights for those who are responding to these allegations (respondents). But institutions are claiming the apps won't serve as a tool for punishment nor will they make a significant difference in the outcome of cases. The Title IX process will commence as soon as the report is made, just like in schools that don't use the app.

Nationwide Title IX Advisor

The only way to make sure your voice is heard and your rights are upheld is to retain a student defense attorney. For respondents, especially, the assistance of an attorney advisor is invaluable in the Title IX process. National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skill, experience, and expertise to help you preserve your entitled rights under Title IX and your school's policy. For a case evaluation or more information about his representation helping clients across the nationcontact him online or give him a call at 888-535-3686 today.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.


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