Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Bill Aims to Expand Clery Act

Washington, DC — Security On Campus, Inc. (SOC), a non-profit  devoted to improving college and university campus safety, joined with a diverse coalition of nearly 20 other organizations to endorse the federal Campus  Sexual Violence Elimination Act or Campus SaVE Act (S. 834)

The measure, introduced on April 14 by U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Patty Murray (D-WA), will update the Jeanne Clery Act to provide a better framework for the sexual assault education and victims’ rights currently offered by colleges and universities, and expand them to also cover domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.

Related Article: How to Comply With the Dept. of Ed’s Title IX Sexual Violence Guidance

“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.”

Between 20 and 25 percent of women in college will be the victim of a completed or attempted rape before they graduate according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

College age women are at greatest risk for experiencing nonfatal intimate partner violence, and people age 18 and 19 experience the highest rates of stalking.

“I am particularly excited about the introduction of the Campus SaVE Act after sitting through many Take Back the Night events on campuses this month,” said Alison Kiss, SOC’s Executive Director. “I have listened to and worked with many students who are finding their voice after being victimized. This legislation will provide guidance for institutions to truly educate students about their rights and to empower victims of violence through the process. It also has the potential to break down silos and open the door for collaboration of multiple campus departments.”

Daniel Carter, SOC’s Director of Public Policy. “The numbers prove we still have a long way to go, however, and SaVE will move us closer to eliminating the scourge of sexual violence on campus. Senator Casey consulted with the nation’s leading experts as well as survivors of campus violence and students to determine the best possible framework.”

The Campus SaVE Act will update the Clery Act’s provisions to reflect the lessons learned about what works to prevent campus violence :

  • Transparency in the amount of intimate partner violence and stalking is increased
  • Domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking would be added to the crime statistics reported by colleges annually.
  • Programs built around primary prevention – changing campus culture so that intimate partner violence and stalking won’t be tolerated – and bystander intervention – so that campus community members are empowered to safely intervene – would be promoted.
  • Victims would be entitled to be clearly informed of their rights in writing, and these rights would include prompt and equitable disciplinary proceedings (consistent with existing Title IX sexual harassment and violence guidelines), help with enforcing a protective order, and assistance with changing academic, working, or living arrangements.
  • Institutions would be assisted in carrying out their responsibilities by technical assistance to be provided by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, and information about best practices provided by these agencies in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“I firmly believe the Campus SaVE Act represents a turning point in our nation’s history of handling campus sexual violence,” said sexual assault survivor and advocate Laura L. Dunn. “With the passage of this Act I can look forward to the day where campus victimization is handled properly and justice provided to those who have  suffered. The harm of a sexual assault can be mitigated by a supportive and protective campus environment, and I hope this Act cultivates such a desire in universities throughout our nation.”

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