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Parents: Talk to your teens about the consequences of assault

Fall is just around the corner, and that means you could be preparing to send your teen away to college. This can be the perfect opportunity to talk to your child about the risks of college-related crimes, like sexual assault.

As discussed in this article from The Atlantic, the data on college sexual assaults leaves much to be desired in the way of accuracy. However, what we can say for certain is that if your child winds up accused of sexual assault while away at college, he or she faces some very severe penalties.

Criminal consequences

Perhaps the most severe consequences are criminal. If your child is convicted of a crime like sexual assault, he or she can be facing steep fines, probation and/or lengthy prison sentences. In some cases, your child could also be required to register as a sex offender and left with a stained criminal record for the rest of his or her life.

Academic consequences

Depending on the details of an alleged offense, your child could be suspended from or kicked out of school. These penalties also extend to clubs and sports team of which your child is a part. Loss of scholarship is another serious penalty that could destroy your child's college aspirations.

Personal and social consequences

Allegations of this nature can destroy a young person's reputation and relationships. And, thanks to the permanence of the internet, any unfortunate incident could be easily uncovered with a quick internet search. Future companions, employers and landlords could use this information against your child indefinitely.

It is critical that you discuss with your child these consequences as he or she heads off to college this fall. Talk to them about how alcohol affects decision-making; remind them that while they are still students, in the eyes of the law, they may be considered adults who face adult consequences for criminal offenses.

Understand, though, that kids make bad decisions and mistakes, particularly when they are away at college and testing boundaries. If your child does wind up accused of assault or another crime while at college, it can be crucial that you help them defend themselves. You can do this by consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

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