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As a mother and a policymaker, I am deeply disturbed by the number of sexual assaults that take place on our college campuses. In 2014, more than 6,700 forcible sex offenses were reported on campuses around our country – and, tragically, a recent U.S. Department of Justice study estimated that the actual number of offenses is at least four times higher.
Students deserve to be and feel safe from the moment they set foot on a college campus.
There are many factors that contribute to the problem of campus sexual assault, including a lack of accountability, minimal transparency, and inconsistent standards. The bipartisan Campus Accountability & Safety Act will set a standard campus disciplinary process, institute new transparency requirements, and incentivize campus accountability and coordination with law enforcement. We should pass this legislation without delay.
Passing the Campus Accountability & Safety Act will also provide new resources and training requirements so staff know how to address sexual assault cases, and it will increase services for the survivors of sexual assault.
When the unthinkable happens, young people should feel safe reporting sexual assault – and be confident that it will be taken seriously.