Here’s a guest post from one of our awesome CAPS volunteers, Becca Loya. Enjoy!
A recently proposed piece of federal legislation with bipartisan support aims to reduce sexual assault on college campuses and to define a baseline of services schools must offer to survivors. On November 30th, Representatives Thomas Perriello of Virginia and John Duncan of Tennessee introduced the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (SaVE) (HR 6461). SaVE would require colleges and universities to develop and distribute policies on sexual assault and intimate partner violence, including notifying survivors of their rights and establishing clear procedures for discipline for reported cases of assault. SaVE would also require schools to offer survivors assistance changing their academic, living, transportation, and/or work situations to feel safer. Importantly, SaVE recognizes the value of education to reduce sexual assault. It specifically would require schools to educate their communities on the definition of consent, how to report offenses on and off campus, bystander intervention, and risk reduction through ongoing prevention campaigns. BARCC is ahead of the curve on the community education piece. BARCC’s Community Awareness and Prevention Services (CAPS) program offers workshops on consent and bystander intervention. SaVE was referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.
HR 6461- The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (SaVE Act)
Bottom line: Schools will develop and distribute policies regarding their sexual assault and intimate partner violence programs.
Establish Procedures for Responding to an Incident of Intimate Partner Violence
* Any student or employee who reports that they have been a victim of intimate partner violence will receive in writing an explanation of their rights to notify law enforcement and receive assistance from the school in doing so
* An explanation of their rights to obtain a protective order from a local court
* Contact information for counseling, health, mental health, legal assistance and other on-campus and community resources.
* The school will help enforce protective orders
Education of Campus Community
* Schools will include prevention and awareness programming for incoming students and new employees including:
* Definition of consent
* How to report offenses on and off campus
* Bystander intervention
* Risk reduction
* The schools will conduct ongoing prevention campaigns to students and faculty to promote this information.
Procedures For On Campus Discipline in Cases of Alleged Offenses:
* Accuser can request prompt disciplinary hearings against the accused which will be conducted by officials who understand the unique circumstances of these crimes, and will use the preponderance of evidence standard.
* Both the accuser and the accused have the right to have others present at the hearing including an advisor of their choice and both will be informed in writing of the outcome of the proceeding.
* A student or employee who reports they have been a victim can receive assistance changing their academic, living, transportation, and/or working situations.