Sexual violence in the college population: a systematic review of disclosure and campus resources and services.

Journal Article (Systematic Review;Review;Journal Article)

Aims and objectives

To synthesise research examining college student sexual violence disclosure and campus sexual violence resources and services.


Recently, the issue of sexual violence within the college population has garnered attention worldwide. The prevalence of sexual violence within college students is alarmingly high. Survivors often experience negative outcomes (e.g. health-related consequences, impact on education). Efforts have been made to address this significant public health concern.


Systematic review of published literature.


Studies were identified through systematic searches of PubMed, CINAHL and PsycInfo of articles published between January 2010-February 2015. A total of 672 articles were identified. After screening, 16 articles were included in this review.


A lack of consistency in how sexual violence was referred to and measured was identified. Research on college student sexual violence disclosure has primarily been conducted in six areas: (1) informal disclosure, (2) formal disclosure, (3) friends' perceptions of disclosure, (4) process/effects of disclosure on the survivor, (5) barriers to disclosure and (6) social support in the disclosure process. Research related to campus sexual violence resources and services has primarily focused on: (1) students' knowledge, (2) students' utilization and (3) students' suggestions. Synthesised findings are presented.


Sexual violence impacts college student survivors and the campus community as a whole. To appropriately assist/address sexual violence, a thorough understanding of college student sexual violence disclosure and campus sexual violence resources/services is necessary. Suggestions for researchers, colleges and nurses are provided.

Relevance to clinical practice

Nurses who serve students, especially those at on-campus student health centres, are opportunely placed to address sexual violence. Findings highlight the need for nurses to use consistent definitions of sexual violence when identifying survivors. Nurses should take measures to increase disclosure and promote sexual violence resources/services provided by their facility. Additional suggestions for nurses are provided.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Halstead, V; Williams, JR; Gonzalez-Guarda, R

Published Date

  • August 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 26 / 15-16

Start / End Page

  • 2137 - 2153

PubMed ID

  • 28102917

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1365-2702

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0962-1067

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/jocn.13735


  • eng