New Law Aims To Reduce Sexual Violence On College Campuses
A host of new laws took effect in Connecticut on July 1st - among them, An Act Concerning Sexual Violence on College Campuses.
The law makes clear to all Connecticut’s colleges and universities – public and private – what's expected in terms of sexual assault reporting procedures, disciplinary hearings, and prevention training for students and faculty.
Anna Doroghazi of Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services says many colleges are already in compliance.
"One of the goals of the new law is to ensure more consistent policies and procedures throughout the state. There’s some variation currently in how colleges do their prevention education prior to an assault. And some variation in how some institutions respond to assaults."
Laura Lockwood is director of the Women and Gender Resource Action Center at Trinity College.
"I think this law will sort of light a match under colleges in terms of getting them to say, ok – we have to make this a priority."
1 in 5 women will be the victim of rape or attempted rape while in college, according to a U.S. Department of Justice national report.
But Lockwood says sexual violence is one of the most under-reported crimes on college campuses. She hopes the law will send a message to victims that they can safely come forward.
"If women and men don’t come forward who have been victims of rape or sexual assault, stalking or intimate partner violence, we can’t get them help. Many transfer to other schools because their perpetrator is sharing the same campus with them. They are going to suffer."
Connecticut’s law updates the federal sexual assault policy requirements in the Jeanne Clery Act.