Wyden Joins Bipartisan Push to Pass Bill to Combat Campus Sexual Assault
Senators urges colleagues to take action and pass the Campus Accountability and Safety Act
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., today were joined by Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate and survivors of sexual assault to urge the Senate to pass the Campus Accountability and Safety Act.
This bipartisan legislation would ensure campus sexual assault cases are handled with professionalism and fairness to better protect and empower students, and would provide colleges and universities with incentives to solve the problem of sexual assault on their campuses.
“Ensuring the most basic protection – safety – for young people trying to get an education ought to be foremost in our minds,” Wyden said. “I’m proud to be one of the bipartisan supporters of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act to work to make sure that never again will survivors have to stand alone.”
Current federal law has had the perverse effect of encouraging colleges to under-report sexual assaults. The bipartisan Campus Accountability and Safety Act (S. 590) would flip the incentives to protect students and improve the handling of sexual assault by doing the following:
- Establishing new campus resources and support services for student survivors
- Ensuring minimum training standards for on-campus personnel
- Creating historic new transparency requirements
- Requiring a uniform discipline process and coordination with law enforcement
- Establishing enforceable Title IX penalties and stiffer penalties for Clery Act violations
Background on the Campus Accountability and Safety Act (S. 590)
According to data from the U.S. Department of Education, college campuses reported more than 6,700 forcible sex offenses (rape and sexual battery) in 2014 – but a recent Department of Justice study shows that the actual number of offenses is estimated to be at least four times that number. Colleges must create an environment where more students feel comfortable coming forward to report sexual assault, so that more perpetrators can be brought to justice.
- Eighty percent of rape and sexual assault victimizations against female students ages 18-24 go unreported to police.
- Law enforcement officials at 30 percent of institutions of higher education receive no training on how to respond to reports of sexual violence.
- Seventy-three percent of institutions of higher education have no protocols on how the institution and law enforcement work together to respond to campus sexual violence.
- Most cases of campus sexual assault are not instances of “stranger rape.” 78 percent of campus sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone the victim knows.
- Confidential reporting options facilitate reporting of campus sexual assault to police and campus authorities.
***Listen to Wyden’s Remarks HERE***
***Watch his Remarks HERE***
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