U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) introduced legislation last week that would address the rising incidences of sexual assault and violence on college campuses. The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, or SaVE Act, would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 and expand the 1990 Jeanne Clery Act to “improve education and prevention related to campus sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.”
Co-sponsored by Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the SaVE Act (S. 835) would expand the framework of sexual assault education and victims’ rights to include domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, and addresses the issue of how to define consent in sexual relationships. Schools would be required under the act to include sexual violence statistics in their annual crime reports. Colleges and universities would also be required to explain how to obtain protective orders and other victims’ rights whenever a student reports being a victim of sexual violence.
Senator Casey, who also introduced a resolution last week that would recognize April as Sexual Assault Awareness month, said “Sexual violence is a tragic and harsh reality on college campuses throughout the country,” said Senator Casey.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, approximately 20-25% of female students will experience some form of sexual assault during college. In the vast majority of sexual assaults, 85-90%, the perpetrator and victim know each other. It is estimated that less than 5% of rapes or attempted rapes of female students in college are reported to campus authorities or law enforcement.
The SaVE Act seeks to address these alarming statistics by implementing policies to prevent and respond to sexual violence through education, programming, and awareness about sexual assault and other intimate partner violence in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education. If passed by Congress and signed by the President this year, SaVE would go into effect in 2012.