Rep. Tom Perriello and a group of bipartisan cosponsors have introduced H.R. 6461, the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (Campus SaVE Act) to strengthen the policies regarding incidents of violence between intimate partners on the campuses of our colleges and universities. The Campus SaVE act will improve how campus communities prevent and respond to incidents of intimate partner violence and empower young people to end unhealthy relationships and seek assistance before they become victims. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 20-25% of female undergraduates will be the victim of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault this year and in nearly all cases it will be by an acquaintance.
"Our campuses should be safe and secure places of learning, not a place where anyone feels uncomfortable or threatened. This bill will make sure that students have the information and support they need to keep themselves from being a victim, and will make sure that reported incidents are dealt with appropriately. I am proud to bring this important issue to the attention of the Congress and I hope that one of my bi-partisan cosponsors will take up this important cause in the next Congress," said Rep. Perriello.
The Campus SaVE Act will update the Jeanne Clery Act which has helped protect young people on campuses for nearly twenty years. This bill would amend the Clery Act so that it covers a more inclusive range of intimate partner violence including stalking, dating violence, sexual violence, or domestic violence. It would also expand the education programs institutions must offer to include primary prevention and bystander intervention for incoming students. This will empower the students themselves to know how to intervene, and to do so safely.
The legislation will also better protect the rights of victims by guaranteeing support resources on campus, including the opportunities for victims to report incidents to law enforcement and seek protective orders from local courts and the school.
Rep. Perriello and his staff have been working with national leaders on campus security to develop this legislation, including Security On Campus, the national non-profit organization founded by the family of Jeanne Clery, whose on campus murder in 1986 in Pennsylvania inspired the original protective legislation. The legislation addresses the urgent need to protect students without overly burdening schools and campus resources.
Finally, the Campus SaVE Act will encourage collaboration between the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice to compile and disseminate best practices information. This will allow campuses the latitude to develop programs that work best for their unique communities while incorporating the lessons of comparable institutions.