Harrisburg, PA – Constructing on his profitable It’s On Us PA initiative, Governor Tom Wolf at present unveiled a four-bill package deal that may additional strengthen protections for college kids and fight sexual assaults on campuses. The governor has made Pennsylvania a nationwide chief in addressing sexual violence and altering the tradition on campuses throughout the state.
“We’ve got made loads of progress in combatting sexual violence and harassment in colleges, however we have to do extra to make sure all of our college students are protected,” mentioned Gov. Wolf. “These 4 legislative proposals are the following step to stopping assaults and violence and guaranteeing victims get the assistance they deserve.
“I commend the legislators becoming a member of me on this combat and urge the management within the Normal Meeting to rapidly take this laws up for a vote and ship it to my desk.”
The governor was joined at a capitol information convention by college students, legislators and the nationwide chief of It’s On Us, a motion combating in opposition to sexual assault on school campuses for each women and men.
The governor’s four-bill package deal would:
Enact a ‘sure means sure’ legislation that requires all postsecondary establishments to have insurance policies withclear requirements of what’s and isn’t consent. California, Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota and New York have comparable legal guidelines to guard each companions by guaranteeing a mutual understanding. Faculties additionally should have sexual violence consciousness applications and agreements with native rape disaster facilities and home violence applications so survivors get the tutorial, dwelling and different lodging that may assist them keep in class. (SB 730, sponsored by Sen. Amanda Cappelletti and HB 1489, sponsored by Rep. Brian Sims)
“It’s crucial that we take steps to forestall sexual violence on campuses and extra totally assist the victims when it does occur,” mentioned Sen. Amanda Cappelletti. “The invoice that I’m introducing with Senators Muth and Collett supplies clear requirements of what consent is, and isn’t, and would guarantee college students know the place they’ll entry assets within the occasion of an assault by requiring agreements with native rape disaster facilities and home violence applications. I’m glad we’re working collectively to comprehensively assist the scholars of Pennsylvania.”
“Not solely do we have to tremendously improve the assist for survivors of sexual assault, we want complete and inclusive schooling on consent,” mentioned Rep. Brian Sims. “Educating children earlier than they arrive on school campuses is the primary approach that we will scale back the cases of sexual violence. The kids, younger individuals and residents of Pennsylvania deserve it.”
Ari Fromm, a PA State Director for the Each Voice Coalition and College of Pennsylvania pupil added, “All too usually, pupil survivors are left on their very own to determine what they want, to assist themselves heal by means of trauma whereas additionally managing their schooling and all the things else that school entails. This is step one to addressing survivor dropout. This invoice is an opportunity to take motion.”
Strengthen protections for victims of on-campus crime by requiring the colleges to tell victims of their rights and providers and to offer protecting lodging or protecting measures, if requested by the sufferer. (SB 909, sponsored by Sen. Steve Santarsiero and HB 1699, sponsored by Rep. Karen Boback)
“Sexual assault and home violence stay an issue on school campuses,” mentioned Sen. Steve Santarsiero. “Our establishments of upper schooling have each the chance and accountability to present assist and affordable lodging to college students who’ve been the victims of sexual assault and home violence. My laws, Senate Invoice 909, would require schools and universities to tell college students of the rights, lodging, and protecting measures obtainable to victims of sexual assault and home violence.”
“As a former educator and adjunct professor, that is a particularly necessary situation,” mentioned Rep. Karen Boback. “I joined the administration with the ‘It’s on Us’ marketing campaign by introducing laws to increase protections for victims of crime on school campuses throughout our Commonwealth. I sit up for seeing this laws transfer ahead, as October is Home Violence Consciousness Month as properly.”
Educate center and highschool college students to know and stop courting violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment and stalking. Whereas the Crime Victims Act outlines necessities for expelling a pupil for an assault on college grounds, this invoice requires colleges to offer preventative schooling for college kids in grades 7-12. This can assist college students to acknowledge and cease dangerous and harmful behaviors, relationships and conditions, and higher put together younger individuals earlier than they arrive on school campuses. (SB 785, sponsored by Sen. Judith Schwank and HB 1490, sponsored by Rep. Jessica Benham)
“Pennsylvania has had success working with schools and universities to determine sexual violence reporting techniques that guarantee all college students really feel comfy coming ahead,” mentioned Sen. Judy Schwank. “Nonetheless, we have to proceed this work and begin addressing this situation earlier than college students attain school campuses. SB 785 would require colleges to show seventh by means of twelfth grade college students to establish and stop courting violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and stalking to assist equip younger individuals with these necessary expertise. These measures are proactive and can permit Pennsylvania to proceed to make progress on this situation.”
“It’s on all of us to guarantee that each pupil, no matter who they’re, feels protected and guarded on their campus, in addition to throughout the Commonwealth, and has the assets and assist they should succeed,” mentioned Rep. Jessica Benham.
Create a job power to check sexual assault, courting violence, home violence and stalking in grades 6-12 and postsecondary establishments. The Joint State Authorities Fee would conduct the research to raised perceive pupil experiences and enhance response efforts. (SR 122, sponsored by Sen. Vince Hughes and HR 108, sponsored by Rep. Carol Hill-Evans)
“The adoption of the ‘It’s on Us’ marketing campaign has been a brilliant spot for combatting sexual assault and relationship violence at postsecondary establishments throughout the Commonwealth,” mentioned Sen. Vincent Hughes. “Sadly, the dearth of uniform requirements has led to an uneven and inconsistent response amongst establishments of upper schooling. The Normal Meeting must undertake Senate Decision 122 in order that we might enhance efficiency and set up constant responses to sexual harassment, sexual assault, courting violence, home violence and stalking.”
“As a society we should perceive the bodily, psychological, and emotional toll the trauma of sexual assault has on every particular person,” mentioned Rep. Carol Hill-Evans. “That’s the reason in June I launched HR 108, which directs the Joint State Authorities Fee to conduct a research on the impression of sexual harassment, sexual assault, courting violence, home violence and stalking on Commonwealth college students enrolled in grades 6 by means of 12 and past. We merely should start having these discussions earlier in our college students’ instructional expertise with the hope of getting a optimistic impression as they transition to postsecondary establishments and thru life. Thanks to Governor Wolf for his statewide initiative following the nationwide It’s On Us marketing campaign to contain everybody in stopping sexual assault.”
The primary a number of weeks of the autumn semester is usually known as the “Purple Zone” when sexual assault will increase, particularly amongst freshman ladies.
In keeping with the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) by the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC), there are greater than 418,000 victims of sexual violence underneath age 18 in Pennsylvania. Nationwide, one in three feminine victims expertise rape between the ages of 11 and 17 and one in 4 male victims experiencing rape earlier than the age of 10.
“I’m proud to face right here at present with Governor Wolf, Pennsylvanian College students, and the legislators who will carry these payments within the Pennsylvania Legislature,” mentioned Tracey Vitchers, govt director, It’s On Us. “These payments would strengthen the rights of scholars, and require schools and universities, in addition to Okay-12 colleges throughout the commonwealth to do higher by our youth and younger adults. By passing these essential items of laws we are going to make strides to forestall sexual assault and defend the rights of pupil survivors throughout the commonwealth.”
“The Pennsylvania Coalition Towards Rape is grateful to hitch Governor Wolf in assist of survivors of campus sexual assault. The It’s On Us legislative package deal will assist strengthen sexual assault prevention and response on school campuses all through the state and guarantee college students impacted by sexual assault and abuse have entry to the assist of rape disaster facilities,” mentioned Karen Baker, CEO, Pennsylvania Coalition Towards Rape.
Defending college students from violence and shifting to prevention methods has been a precedence for Gov. Wolf. After taking workplace the governor launched It’s On Us PA, the nation’s first statewide marketing campaign to forestall assaults on campus.
In 2019, the governor signed two main legal guidelines from his It’s On Us marketing campaign. The legal guidelines require schools to offer an nameless on-line choice for college kids to report sexual assaults and safety for college kids reporting sexual assault from being disciplined for violating college drug, alcohol or different insurance policies.
The governor has additionally supplied $5 million in It’s On Us grants to 190 private and non-private post-secondary colleges to assist change the tradition on campus. The Division of Schooling is accepting applications for grants up to $30,000 through October 20, 2021.
Governor Wolf invitations everybody to take the It’s On Us PA pledge and play a task in ending sexual assault.
It’s On Us is a nationwide initiative began by former President Barack Obama and then-Vice-President Joe Biden to lift consciousness about sexual assault; instructing individuals that assault consists of non-consensual intercourse, advising them on tips on how to establish harmful conditions, empowering them to intervene, and urging them to create an surroundings of assist for victims and survivors.
To entry photographs and video from at present’s occasion, please go to PACast.
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