Washington, D.C. - Although great strides have been made in advancing protections against sexual violence on college campuses, students with disabilities still suffer a disproportionate number of violent sexual crimes. A recent Last year, a report from the National Council on Disability, “Not on the Radar: Sexual Assault of College Students with Disabilities,” found that the needs of these students are often not addressed under existing policies. To address this gap and build upon the work of the landmark Jeanne Clery Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12) and U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced the Safe Equitable Campus Resources and Education (SECuRE) Act.
“While my Campus SaVE law helped improve reporting and access to support services for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, more can and must be done for students with disabilities,” said Senator Casey. “This legislation will help ensure that all students, regardless of whether or not they have a disability, have access to the resources they need to feel safe at school. It’s past time we step up for them and I urge my colleagues to support the SECuRE Act.”
“Every student deserves to learn and study in a safe, enriching environment,” said Rep. Dingell. “Unfortunately students with disabilities are at increased risk for sexual violence and face to many barriers in reporting. We must do better when it comes to campus efforts to prevent and respond to sexual assault against students with disabilities. The SECuRE Act will ensure everyone has access to the resources they need should the unthinkable happen.”
“Students who experience disabilities have a right to feel safe on college campuses, just like any of their peers,” said Senator Hassan. “I urge my colleagues to pass the SECuRE Act without delay so that every student has access to the resources and support they need in the event of a sexual assault, and to prevent these attacks from occurring in the first place.”
Specifically, the SECuRE Act would:
- Require institutions to report how many of the sex offenses, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking incidents reported involved a victim who was an individual with a disability.
- Ensure that campus policies for emergency response and evacuation take into account the needs of individuals with disabilities.
- Require that all reports, materials and information required under the Clery Act be made available in accessible formats and in a timely manner.
- Expand the risk reduction component of prevention and awareness programs to include abusive behavior and attacks targeting individuals with disabilities.
- Require an assurance that campus security personnel and individuals responsible for providing the required information under the Clery Act are trained to work with individuals with disabilities.
- Require institutional disciplinary proceedings to be conducted by officials who receive training on how to work with individuals with disabilities, and that the proceedings themselves be accessible to individuals with disabilities.
- Permit an individual with a disability who is the accuser or the accused individual to be accompanied to any meeting or proceeding by an interpreter or other individual providing communication assistance services, in addition to his or her advisor of choice.
- Require the written notice of the outcome of a disciplinary proceeding be provided in an accessible format if required.
- Require campus policies to include information about the accommodations available to individuals with disabilities with respect to the programs and procedures outlined in the Clery Act.
The SECuRE Act has been endorsed by:
- Advocates Building Lasting Equality in New Hampshire (ABLE NH)
- American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
- The Arc of Pennsylvania
- The Arc of the United States
- Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
- Autism Society of America
- Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)
- Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA)
- Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
- Clery Center
- Coalition of Parent and Attorney Advocates (COPAA)
- Family Voices
- Little Lobbyists
- National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD)
- National Association of State Directors of Special Education
- National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
- National Disability Rights Network
- National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC)
- Safety Advisors for Educational Campuses, LLC (SAFE Campuses, LLC)
- The SECuRE Act is also recommended and supported by the National Council on Disability, a federal advisory body.