The following is a fact sheet provided by the White House. It follows news that a White House task force is seeking protections for college rape victims,
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U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., released the
following statement on the report by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault:
plan is an excellent start – a promising blueprint for addressing the
scourge of sexual assault on college campuses. Now we must put specifics
with this promising framework. Following the President's call to action
on this critical issue, I held seven roundtables at colleges and
universities across Connecticut to hear directly from students,
administrators, rape counselors, medical personnel, law
enforcement and parents. In the days ahead, we will release a report on
the findings from those meetings, which I hope will advance the White House's efforts. I look forward to working with the Administration's Task Force to end this epidemic of violence.”
Further, U.S. Rosa DeLauro, D-3, also released a statement on the report:
"I am pleased to see the Administration recognize the continuing crisis
of sexual assault on college campuses. But now the onus is on schools
and law enforcement to see them through and end this outrage, which
happens on campuses all over America. It was not all that long ago,
before the Violence Against Women Act, that rape and domestic violence
were shuffled under the rug. In the 1970s, ordinary women first took up
the reins of activism for those who suffered in violence. Just like
thirty years ago, the energy and the change will come from women on
college campuses standing up and saying they will tolerate this no
longer. I will continue to work with my colleagues and Connecticut's
colleges and universities to ensure this conversation is one day a relic
This is the White House release, unedited here and provided as public information:
in five women is sexually assaulted while in college. Most often, it
happens her freshman or sophomore year. In the great majority of cases,
it’s by someone
she knows – and also most often, she does not report what happened.
And though fewer, men, too, are victimized.
Administration is committed to putting an end to this violence. That’s
why the President established the White House Task Force to Protect
Students from Sexual
Assault on January 22, 2014, with a mandate to strengthen federal
enforcement efforts and provide schools with additional tools to combat
sexual assault on their campuses.
the Task Force is announcing a series of actions to: (1) identify the
scope of the problem on college campuses, (2) help prevent campus sexual
(3) help schools respond effectively when a student is assaulted, and
(4) improve, and make more transparent, the federal government’s
enforcement efforts. We will continue to pursue additional executive or
legislative actions in the future.
These steps build on the Administration’s
to combat sexual assault.
The Task Force formulated its recommendations after a 90-day review period during which it heard from thousands of people from across the country
-- via 27 online and in-person listening sessions and written comments from a wide variety of stakeholders.
Helping Schools Identify the Problem: Climate Surveys
As we know, campus sexual assault is chronically underreported –
so victim reports don’t provide a fair measure of the problem. A campus climate survey, however, can. So, today:
We are providing schools with a toolkit for developing and conducting a climate survey.
This survey has
evidence-based sample questions that schools can use to gauge the
prevalence of sexual assault on campus, test students’ attitudes and
awareness about the issue, and craft solutions. We call on schools to
voluntarily conduct the climate survey next year and,
based on what we learn, we will further refine the survey methodology.
This process will culminate in a survey for all schools to use.
will explore legislative or administrative options to require colleges
and universities to conduct an evidence-based survey in 2016.
mandate for schools to periodically conduct a climate survey will
change the national dynamic: with a better picture of what’s really
happening on campus, schools will be able to
more effectively tackle the problem and measure the success of their
Preventing Sexual Assault – and Bringing in the Bystander
college years are formative for many students. If we implement
effective prevention programs, today’s students will leave college
knowing that sexual assault is simply
unacceptable. And that, in itself, can create a sea change.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
conducted a systematic review of primary prevention strategies for reducing sexual violence, and is releasing an advance summary of its findings.
This review summarizes some of the best available research in the area,
and highlights evidence-based prevention strategies that work, some
that are promising, and those that don’t work. The report points to
steps colleges can take now to prevent sexual assault
on their campuses.
CDC and the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women will
pilot and evaluate prevention strategies on college campuses.
work will build on the CDC’s systematic review, and will identify and
fill gaps in the research on sexual violence prevention.
Getting Bystanders to Step In and Help Is a Promising Practice.
Bystander intervention programs work to
change social norms, and teach everyone to speak out and intervene if
someone is at risk of being assaulted. These programs are among those
the CDC found most promising.
Schools Respond Effectively When A Student is Sexually Assaulted:
Confidentiality, Training, Better Investigations, and Community
law, schools that receive federal funds are obliged to protect students
from sexual assault. It is the Task Force’s mission to help schools
meet not only the letter,
but the spirit, of that obligation. And that can mean a number of
things – from giving a victim a confidential place to turn for advice
and support, to providing specialized training for school officials, to
effectively investigating and finding out what
happened, to sanctioning the perpetrator, to doing everything we can to
help a survivor recover.
Many survivors need someone to talk to in confidence.
While many survivors of sexual assault are ready
to press forward with a formal complaint right away, others aren’t so
sure. For some, having a confidential place to go can mean the
difference between getting help and staying silent. Today, the
Department of Education is releasing new guidance clarifying
that on-campus counselors and advocates can talk to a survivor in
confidence. This support can help victims come forward, get help, and
make a formal report if they choose to.
We are providing a sample confidentiality and reporting policy.
Even victims who make a formal report may
still request that the information be held in confidence, and that the
school not investigate or take action against the perpetrator.
Schools, however, also have an obligation to keep the larger community
safe. To help them strike this balance, we are providing
schools with a sample reporting and confidentiality policy, which
recommends factors a school should consider in making this decision.
We are providing specialized training for school officials.
officials and first responders need to understand how sexual assault
occurs, the tactics used by perpetrators, and the common reactions of
victims. The Justice Department
will help by developing new training programs for campus officials
involved in investigating and adjudicating sexual assault cases and by
launching a technical assistance project for campus officials. The
Department of Education will develop training materials
for campus health center staff to improve services to victims.
We will give schools guidance on how to improve their investigative and adjudicative protocols.
to know more about what investigative and adjudicative systems work
best on campus. The Justice Department will undertake this work, and
will begin evaluating different models this year with the goal of
identifying the most promising practices. The Department
of Education’s new guidance also urges some important improvements to
the disciplinary process.
We are helping schools forge partnerships with community resources.
Community partnerships are critical
to getting survivors the help they need: while some schools can
provide comprehensive services on campus, others may need to partner
with community-based organizations. Rape crisis centers in particular
can help schools better serve their students. We are
releasing a sample agreement between schools and rape crisis centers,
so survivors have a full network of services in place.
Improving and Making More Transparent Federal Enforcement Efforts
better address sexual assault at our nation’s schools, the federal
government needs to both strengthen our enforcement efforts and increase
coordination among responsible
agencies. Importantly, we also need to improve communication with
survivors, parents, school administrators, faculty, and the public, by
making our efforts more transparent.
On Tuesday, we are launching a dedicated website –
www.NotAlone.gov – to make enforcement data public and to make other resources accessible to students and schools.
the website, students can learn about their rights, search enforcement
data, and read about how to file a complaint. The website will also
help schools and advocates: it will
make available federal guidance on legal obligations, best available
evidence and research, and relevant legislation. Finally, the website
will have trustworthy resources from outside the federal government,
such as hotline numbers and mental health services
locatable by simply typing in a zip code.
The Department of Education is providing more clarity on schools’ legal obligations.
The Department of Education is releasing answers to frequently asked
questions about schools’ legal obligations to prevent and respond to
sexual assault. Among many other topics, the new guidance makes clear
that federal law protects all students, regardless
of sexual orientation or gender identity, immigration status, or
whether they have a disability. It also makes clear questions about a
survivor’s sexual history with anyone other than the alleged perpetrator
shouldn’t be permitted during a judicial hearing,
and also that a previous sexual relationship doesn’t imply consent or
preclude a finding of sexual violence. And that schools should take
steps to protect and assist a survivor pending an investigation.
The Departments of Justice and Education have entered into an agreement clarifying each agency’s role.
Both agencies have a critical role to play in enforcing the laws that
require schools to prevent and respond to sexual assault on their
campuses. The agencies have entered into a formal agreement to increase
coordination and strengthen enforcement.
action steps highlighted in this report are the initial phase of an
ongoing plan and commitment to putting an end to this violence on
campuses. We will continue
to work toward solutions, clarity, and better coordination. We will
review the legal frameworks surrounding sexual assault for possible
regulatory or statutory improvements, and seek new resources to enhance
enforcement. Campus law enforcement agencies have
special expertise- and they, too, should be tapped to play a more
central role. And we will also consider how our recommendations apply
to public elementary and secondary schools – and what more we can do to
Labels: sexual assault, Students, White House