WASHINGTON, DC— U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today introduced legislation to combat the problem of sexual violence on college campuses. The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (SaVE Act) (S.834), cosponsored by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), will close a serious gap in the law by requiring colleges and universities to clearly spell out their policies regarding sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
“Sexual violence is a tragic and harsh reality on college campuses throughout the country,” said Senator Casey. “We must ensure that when we send our sons and daughters off to colleges and universities, we are providing every means necessary for them to learn in a safe environment. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, an ideal time for us to pause and recognize the victims of sexual assault and then step up and take action to address issues like sexual assault, domestic and dating violence and stalking.”
Sexual assaults, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking are serious problems on college campuses. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 20 to 25 percent of female undergraduates will be the victim of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault this year and in nearly all cases it will be by an acquaintance.
Also today, Senator Casey introduced a resolution recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month to promote awareness of sexual violence and encourage solutions to decrease the incidence of sexual assaults.
The Campus SaVE Act will close a serious gap in the law by requiring colleges and universities to clearly spell out their policies regarding sexual assault and intimate partner violence. The Campus SaVe Act will also increase awareness and prevention of these acts of violence by requiring transparency of information, prevention programs, assistance for victims and clear institutional judicial proceedings to promote accountability.
The bill amends Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require each institution of higher education participating in a title IV program, except foreign schools, to:
• Include in its annual security report a statement of policy regarding its domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking awareness and prevention programs and the procedures it follows when such an offense occurs.
• Explain in writing students’ rights anytime a student reports being a victim of sexual violence, including stalking, dating or domestic violence. This would include a victim’s right to notify law enforcement if the victim chooses, to receive help from the school to report the incident, to seek a protective order from a local court, and to change residence, class schedule and travel arrangements as necessary to preserve the victim’s safety.
• Explain to students the school’s obligation to help enforce those protective orders.
• Start teaching bystander education – a prevention strategy that focuses on teaching male and female students alike that they can prevent sexual assaults and that they have a responsibility to do so.
• Direct the Secretary of Education to seek the Attorney General's counsel regarding the development, and dissemination to schools, of best practices for preventing and responding to sex offenses and other forms of intimate partner violence.
The Campus SaVE Act has been endorsed by the following organizations:
• Security On Campus (SOC)
• Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape
• Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER)
• Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV)
• Break the Cycle
• Casa de Esperanza
• National Alliance to End Sexual Violence
• National Center for Victims of Crime
• National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
• National Dating Abuse Helpline
• National Domestic Violence Hotline
• National Network to End Domestic Violence
• National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
• Family Violence Prevention Fund
• Jewish Women International
• Women of Color Network
• Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)